The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has announced an $8.8 million gift from the estate of alumnus Ronald K. Baker ('75) in support of scholarships and a faculty chair.
A significant portion of the gift, $5.9 million, will be used to establish the Ronald K. Baker, M.D., Scholarship Endowment — the largest endowed scholarship gift ever to the college of medicine — in support of medical students with financial need. The remaining $2.9 million will establish the Ronald K. Baker Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology, which will be held by Randal O. Dull, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, three in four U.S. medical school students who graduated in 2018 had student loan debt, with the average amount held approximately $196,000.
Baker, who died in June 2017 at the age of 70, earned a doctorate in chemistry and a medical degree from UA and spent his entire career working as an anesthesiologist in Denver. The only son of parents of moderate means, Baker, who never married, volunteered to work holidays and night shifts so his colleagues could be home with their families. "He was a kind soul, often thinking of others," said John Thomas, who had known Baker since childhood.
"Dr. Baker did not forget his time at the University of Arizona and the role it played in shaping his career," said University of Arizona Foundation president and CEO John-Paul Roczniak. "I am so proud that it meant enough that he left his estate to benefit future generations of medical students. It's an incredible legacy."