The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has announced a $1 million pledge from alumnus J. Steven Blake to provide scholarships for African-American students.
The gift will be used to establish the J. Steven Blake, DO '89 Scholars Society, which will provide full tuition for African-American students based on financial need and academic performance. The program represents the first full scholarships the school has been able to provide in its 113-year history.
Blake, chairman, president, and CEO of Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC in Philadelphia, is committed to creating jobs in the region and mentoring students. In 2006, he established the East Coast Cultural Enrichment Tour, which brings honor students from his alma mater, Coahoma Agricultural High School in Clarksdale, Mississippi, north for an all-expenses-paid trip to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the PCOM board of trustees in 2007 and serves as chair of its development committee and is a member of its student and academic affairs committee.
"Reflecting on my own life, and the difference coming to Philadelphia made to me, I wanted to do that for students," said Blake. "It's so important for students to see a world outside their regular environment. My goal is to expose, excite, and encourage the students....My vision was to be a family doctor in a small town in Mississippi, not a gastroenterologist in one of the greatest cities on earth. I was not afraid to take a risk and step up to the plate; I want others to be able to do likewise. I am where I am today because someone sat down at the admissions table and said 'yes'."