William A. Peck, MD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of the university’s Center for Health Policy, says he needed “about one nanosecond” when asked what the school might do to honor him.
“I thought it was very important to enhance our scholarship program,” he says. The support of his friends and colleagues was “overwhelmingly” generous, he adds, “because the cause is so worthy.” Commitments to the fund today total nearly $4.5 million. Peck and his wife, Patricia, are themselves major supporters.
Overall, the school’s robust aid program has helped it rise to the top in student selectivity rankings. “It enables us to continue to attract the top students,” says Peck. “These students are outstanding. I’m overwhelmed by their intelligence.
“They’re obviously excellent students, but it goes far beyond that,” Peck notes. “They have a wide range of extracurricular interests. They have open minds. They’re altruistic, providing services for the underserved. They’re filled with initiative; they’re entrepreneurial. It’s amazing to get to know them.”
Medical school debt looms large in the minds of students and graduates, Peck observes. It not only discourages would-be researchers, but also steers students away from lower-paying medical specialties.