Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, has announced a $4 million planned gift from alumnus and trustee Matthew W. Wilson.
The gift from Wilson, a doctor who specializes in pediatric cancers of the eye, will provide support for the university's Institute for the Advancement of Community Health, which was established five years ago to address pressing healthcare challenges in the Greenville community. In partnership with Prisma Health, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, the Piedmont Health Foundation, and other community partners, the institute provides the roughly one-third of Furman students who pursue health careers with internships designed to increase their knowledge of their chosen field and make them more competitive for graduate school.
"It's clear that healthcare disparities are real and they need to be addressed, and I'm incredibly proud of the fact that Furman has an avenue to study and provide solutions for these challenges," said Wilson, the chief of ophthalmology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where he holds the chair of excellence in pediatric ophthalmology. "The goal is to ensure a legacy for the opportunities that IACH is providing for the students at Furman, giving them the experiential education they need to pursue healthcare careers and be a part of the solution."
"Dr. Wilson has proven to be a champion of health care for those who need it most and of educating future healthcare providers who will serve their communities," said Furman president Elizabeth Davis. "We are so grateful to Matt for his generosity and for his commitment to his alma mater and our students."