Good Chemistry: New Scholarship Supports Students

Faculty and staff in SOU’s Chemistry Program are still happily stunned at the gift they received from the estate of Aneta ’63 and James McIntyre. It bestows approximately $150,000 to fund student scholarships. “We were thrilled,” said Chemistry Professor and Chair Hala Schepmann, Ph.D. “This gift came out of nowhere, and it is going to have a significant impact on our student research program,” said Schepmann.

The McIntyre’s estate was distributed in two phases. Anticipating just one gift, the chemistry faculty combined it with other scholarship funds to create a scholarship in the McIntyre’s name. “That scholarship is a life-changer for students. We weren’t expecting anything more,” said Schepmann. But a significant second estate distribution arrived earlier this year.

While the gift was a surprise to the university, the donors and their motivations were no mystery. The McIntyres had a long relationship with the university. James was a geology consultant who taught at what was then Southern Oregon College. Aneta, an early chemistry graduate, was the program’s first storekeeper. Her job was to outfit the lab, order chemicals and supplies, prepare solutions, and keep the lab materials organized and updated. Even today, her store-keeping skills are legendary. “She was so good at her job and so organized, that even after the chemistry storeroom was remodeled we maintained her layout and still have many of her handwritten cards,” said Schepmann.

“Many alumni and emeritus faculty members remember Aneta. As storekeeper she was beloved by both the students and faculty,” said Schepmann.

Schepmann said she wishes she could personally thank the McIntyres. “I would say, ‘Come and see how your generosity has impacted our students and the opportunities you have helped to create for them,'” she said.

SOU’s Chemistry Program is very competitive and has a reputation for producing graduates prepared to step into graduate schools and find success. Since 2000, graduates have been accepted at notably higher rates than the national average to medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, physician assistant, and law schools. While there are several reasons why students are successful, chief among them is the program’s accreditation by the American Chemical Society. This accreditation means that the program meets very strict standards and that students who graduate have successfully completed a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes laboratory experience and research.

The Cloughs also recognize that SOU’s Healthcare Administration Program has communities throughout Oregon. “It is a national crisis in terms of having enough qualified individuals in healthcare.

Having a program here will definitely help our region, as we will be able to draw from the talent coming out of the university,” Sheila said.

The university approved the Healthcare Administration degree program in 2017 after consulting with regional healthcare providers to understand their employment needs. The degree offers a pathway for current healthcare workers from entry-level employment into management.

According to John King, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Health, Education and Leadership, the program was designed to prepare students for careers managing the daily operations of healthcare organizations, such as hospitals and clinics, community health centers, nursing homes, and hospices. The degree is interdisciplinary and structured so all graduates possess a solid foundation in healthcare systems, terminology, data management, ethics and safety, as well as communication and cultural competency. Students choose a concentration area depending upon their interest area and career path. These include personnel management, community health, and data analytics.

Enrollment in this degree program is expected to grow in the ensuing years. Now in its second year, the program has 46 students, an increase of 20 percent since the degree was first announced.

For the Cloughs, the scholarship also offers them a deeper connection with SOU. “We are personally looking forward to being connected to the program and seeing how our gift can impact the students firsthand,” said Chris. “I feel like we are getting more out of this than we are giving.”