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Lummis Fellowship Provides Needed Stipends for Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Students
A longtime supporter of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Marilyn Graves Lummis has provided annual gifts for student stipend funding and major support for the Nursing and Biomedical Sciences building (now the School of Nursing building), as well as serving on the Development Board and GSBS Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2002.
A graduate of The University of Texas, Lummis is former chairman of the board of the Visiting Nurse Association of Houston and chair emeritus of The Women’s Institute of Houston which has provided continuing education for adults in the Houston area for more than 50 years. Her family boasts five generations of physicians, including a brother, father and two grandfathers, one an early professor of medicine at UTMB, who played a significant role in the medical leadership in Texas.
Lummis’ husband, Frederick Lummis, M.D., was a native Houstonian with a private practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology at Diagnostic Clinic. During his career, he served as president of the Harris County Medical Society, board chair of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and was a trustee emeritus of the Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Health and Medical Science and Rice University, as well as a faculty member of UT Medical School at Houston. Together, they created The Marilyn and Frederick R. Lummis Jr., M.D., Fellowship in the Biomedical Sciences in the spring of 2007 with the first Lummis Fellow being named in the fall of 2007. Dr. Lummis passed away in December of 2007.
When discussing their decision to make this gift, Mrs. Lummis noted that all through the years since her early days on the Development Board, she had contributed what amounted to a student stipend, the original catalyst for her gift, which in 1987 was $3,000.
Today, that figure has grown to a considerably larger amount ($26,000 annually) and Dr. and Mrs. Lummis wanted to grow their support as well, so they pledged $100,000 for this purpose. Mrs. Lummis noted how much she appreciated her time with graduate students, meeting them at luncheons, learning about what they were doing— she said she felt“that the impact of their accomplishments was so important. They love what they do.”
In February 2008, Mrs. Lummis attended a luncheon to meet the 2007- 08 Lummis Fellow, Dunyaporn
Trachootham, Ph.D., and will this year meet the second Lummis Fellow, Nam Ky Tonthat. Tonthat’s research project in structural biology has the potential for high impact in defining a new area of design for therapeutic agents that would interfere with the division of tumor cells and infectious bacteria, thereby decreasing their numbers and dramatically improving survival.
George Stancel, Ph.D., GSBS dean acknowledged, “Mrs. Lummis and her late husband were truly transformational thinkers who understood that the breakthroughs of the future will always be built upon the research of today, and that the leaders of the future will come from the students of today. For these reasons their gift is highly valued and the graduate school so much appreciates her continued support and friendship.”
By Linda Carter, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences