If luck indeed occurs in threes, Dr. John Alexander had his share of good fortune while he was a medical student at UTMB.
He received a draft deferment that allowed him to pursue a medical education during the Korean War. Not a single hurricane hit Galveston during his four years on the island. And when he graduated in 1954, Dr. Alexander walked away debt-free.
The retired Fort Worth radiologist knows well that many students following in his footsteps are not so lucky to graduate from medical school without steep financial obligations. The impulse to give back and lend a hand to future generations of physicians led Dr. Alexander to establish a scholarship for first-year medical students at UTMB.
“My medical education at UTMB was a very good bargain,” Dr. Alexander said. “That’s why I want to help; you owe something for having received so much for so little. I felt a scholarship would be particularly helpful for freshmen so they can devote all of their time to their medical education.”
UTMB President Dr. David Callender applauded Dr. Alexander’s generosity.
“All of us at UTMB are grateful to Dr. Alexander for establishing this marvelous scholarship,” Dr. Callender said. “The medical students who will benefit from his scholarship will certainly be inspired by the example he’s set as a loyal alumnus.”
Dr. Alexander took advantage of a charitable gift annuity to establish his scholarship. He transferred funds in three separate instances to the university, which allowed him to receive a tax deduction, and he’ll receive annuity payments for the rest of his life. His annuity payments—largely tax free—are fixed at a set amount that protects against swings in the financial markets, providing him with a source of income.
John Stone Alexander, 85, was born in Paris, Texas, where he grew up across the street from a hospital. The sight of physicians piqued his early interest in medicine. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and he chose to study medicine at UTMB because he considered it a “premiere” medical school as the state’s oldest.
After UTMB, Alexander served two years in the Army in France and earned the rank of captain. After his Army service, he completed his residency at Scott & White Memorial Hospital. Then he later went on to devote more than 30 years of his career at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. He retired in 1992.
“If you’re in the hospital, just about every interesting case has to come through for an X-ray,” he said. “Most specialties only get to see one thing, but we were able to see most of the interesting cases come through.”
Alexander spent the earlier years of his retirement traveling around the world. Lately, though, he has been unable to travel as much as he’d like. He last visited the UTMB campus four years ago for a class reunion.
“That was lots of fun to see classmates I haven’t seen since graduation,” he said. “My class is slowly a dying breed I’m afraid. There aren’t many of us left.”
His memories of a career well spent, his days at UTMB and his books keep him occupied in his west Fort Worth retirement home.