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Giving in Action: School of Medicine’s New Giving Societies

Posted by on Monday, March 6, 2017 in Giving in Action, Vanderbilt Community, Winter 2017 .

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) has launched two new donor societies, the John E. Chapman, M.D. Society, recognizing donors who support clinical degree programs and endowed faculty chairs, and the Discovery Circle which recognizes donors to Basic Sciences.

Chapman led the school from 1975-2001—the longest tenure of any dean. During that time, he conferred degrees on more than 3,000 Vanderbilt medical students and grew the faculty by 789 members. As a visionary for medical education, Chapman is remembered for both his contributions at Vanderbilt and also his far-reaching national influence.

“Chapman Society members will not only play a critical role in the future of VUSM, but also will honor its history and Dean Chapman’s vision for what Vanderbilt could—and would—become: an innovator in medical education,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The Chapman Society recognizes those who make annual gifts of $2,500 or more to the VUSM clinical degree programs and clinical faculty endowed chairs. Vanderbilt alumni who graduated within the last 10 years are eligible for membership with a commitment of $1,000 annually.

Chapman Society donors will support scholarships and research, providing opportunities for both students and faculty. Membership in the society will help to advance innovative curriculum and state-of-the-art learning facilities, keeping VUSM among the top medical education programs in the nation.

The Discovery Circle recognizes the dedication and commitment of those who make annual gifts of $2,500 or more to the basic sciences. Vanderbilt alumni who graduated within the last 10 years are eligible for membership with a commitment of $1,000 annually.

“We are honored to offer this new recognition to our School of Medicine donors. Donor society participation indicates a high level of commitment, and we are grateful for the way that our alumni and friends help to advance our mission of world-class teaching and discovery,” said Susie Stalcup, vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations.

Discovery Circle support helps to ensure that faculty and students have the resources needed to initiate high-risk, groundbreaking research that has the potential to open new fields of scientific inquiry. A donor society dedicated to supporting basic research is crucial in the face of dwindling federal funding and the resulting competition for National Institutes of Health support, said Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., dean of Basic Sciences for VUSM. Marnett leads the school’s basic science departments: Cell and Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Pharmacology, and Biochemistry and its associated basic science centers, institutes and programs.

“Philanthropic support through the Discovery Circle will offer our researchers the freedom to brainstorm ideas and act on them right away, and it will ensure we can maintain and expand upon our core facilities. Many times, core facilities are the incubators that enable our teams to introduce new approaches, making it imperative that we stay at the forefront of innovation,” he said.

To learn more about the Chapman Society, please visit For the Discovery Circle, please visit