Betty Schreiner, MD, ’61, who established the Joseph and Mariette Schreiner Scholarship Fund at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, learned a long time ago that hard work can lead to great success. Her parents, who immigrated to the United States separately in the early 1900s, instilled this idea in her from a young age, and inspired her to strive for lofty goals.

Betty Schreiner and Chioma Moneme pose together at the 2016 Keck School Scholarship Gala on March 12.

Betty Schreiner and Chioma Moneme pose together at the 2016 Keck School Scholarship Gala on March 12. (Photo/Steve Cohn)

The scholarship fund was established with an initial gift of $1.22 million to support the full tuition of one Keck School of Medicine of USC student in perpetuity.

Her father, Joseph was born in a small town in Germany and came to the U.S. by himself at the age of 12 in 1904. During World War I he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco. Mariette, Schreiner’s mother, came to the U.S. from Belgium in 1918 with her mother and siblings. The two were married and Schreiner was born in September of 1929.

“My father was a good businessman,” Schreiner recalled fondly. “We lived comfortably but not extravagantly.”

After receiving her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Stanford in 1951, Schreiner applied and was accepted to be one of three women in her class at the Keck School, then the USC School of Medicine. “Once I was accepted into medical school I felt very comfortable,” Schreiner stated. “I was treated well by the staff and my fellow students, and I really enjoyed it.”

Schreiner went on to have an exceptional career as a pathologist, eventually becoming chief of the Department of Pathology at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, retiring in 1990.

The first recipient of the scholarship is New Jersey resident Chioma Moneme, who is in her first year at the Keck School. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Moneme earned her undergraduate degree in cell biology and neuroscience from Rutgers. According to Moneme, without the scholarship, attending the Keck School would have been very difficult.

“This scholarship is basically everything to me,” she says. “It provided me with so much opportunity that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. I feel like Keck was the place for me, and her scholarship allowed me to be here.”

Schreiner has not forgotten the opportunities that were given to her by her family, and the opportunities she experienced at the Keck School. “Even though we weren’t really wealthy, we were always well-cared for,” she said. “My father was a good provider, and my mother was a wonderful homemaker. And my job was to become educated and self-sufficient.” By establishing this scholarship, she is making that easier for many students at the Keck School for years to come.

— Amanda Busick