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Dell Medical School’s first scholarship donor takes aim at doctor shortage

Giving News

Like many people, Matt Bell has heard there’s a doctor shortage looming. The difference? He is doing something about it.

Matt Bell

Donor Matt Bell: "I'm interested in helping people who want to become doctors."

And he’s earned an important distinction in the process: In October the Dallas resident became the first person to create a scholarship at UT’s new Dell Medical School. He hopes the Matthew G. Bell Memorial Endowed Student Tuition Fellowship will make careers in medicine more enticing to would-be doctors deterred by the high cost of a medical education.

“I’m interested in helping people who want to become doctors,” he said.

Bell is making a difference in a big way; he has chosen 50 medical schools across the country and is giving a $100,000 scholarship bequest to each. Choosing Dell Medical School as one of the 50 wasn’t difficult.

“The University of Texas at Austin is the premier school in the state of Texas,” he said. “Although there are other University of Texas medical schools, I felt that this would be the best of the best.”

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With his 50 bequests, Bell has become something of an expert at philanthropy to universities, and he knows all aren’t created equal. With many schools, he faced a frustrating process that was lengthier than it had to be. Others didn’t want to bother with a gift as “small” as $100,000. But giving to UT was different.

“It was probably one of the best experiences as opposed to some of the schools,” he said. “It was phenomenally easy.”

Someone was always available when he called the University Development Office, and staffers there were able to offer detailed guidance on the various methods of giving he could choose. A process that took as long as three months with other schools took only two weeks with UT Austin.

Another difference between UT and other schools: UT is creating a relationship with him, not just taking his money. Bell likes that his gift allows him to be actively involved with the Dell Medical School. The size of his gift qualifies him for membership in the Founders Circle, a group that recognizes people who have given $50,000 or more to the medical school. Founders Circle members receive invitations to meet the school’s inaugural dean, to attend groundbreaking ceremonies for the academic building, and to take an exclusive tour of the building once it is finished. They are also recognized on the school’s website and in a permanent donor recognition area in the academic building.

“That’s part of the pleasure of doing this,” Bell said. “This is a great opportunity to connect with the university.”

For other ways to give, contact Courtney Manuel at 512-475-9606 or courtney.manuel@austin.utexas.edu.

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