It was October 2015 and Anthony Sanchez was thrilled — the acceptance letter he sought above all others, to the Keck School of Medicine of USC, had arrived. His lifelong dream of being a physician would come true; now, like every other medical student, he just had to figure out how to pay for it.

For the first two years of medical school, Sanchez received tuition support through the Dr. Rodolfo Montes Memorial Scholarship and commuted from his childhood home in Whittier to further reduce costs. In spite of saving as much money as possible, Sanchez accumulated a hefty student loan bill. So when he needed to move closer to campus to accommodate his clerkship schedule, Sanchez had to look for other forms of assistance. Help came in the form of scholarships that paid not only his entire year’s tuition, but also a full year of rent for his apartment.

“I genuinely cannot express in words how much this support has meant to me,” said Sanchez, now a fourth-year medical student. “It has given me tremendous peace of mind and has truly allowed me to dedicate myself more fully to my education and to becoming the best clinician I can be.”

Sanchez shared his story as the student speaker at the 50 Year Fellows Society Luncheon, held May 17 at the California Club in Downtown Los Angeles in honor of the Keck School alumni who are celebrating their 50-year reunion. Raquel Arias, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology (clinician educator) and associate dean of admissions at the Keck School, was the event emcee, reminding the gathered alumni of the events of their graduation year.

“When you graduated from medical school in 1969, American scientist Linus Pauling was your commencement speaker,” she said. “Dr. Roger Egeberg, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s personal physician in World War II, was your dean and signed your diplomas. … A lot has changed over the past 50 years, but one thing remains the same: our commitment to training skilled clinicians, compassionate citizens and talented scientists who are dedicated to improving the lives of others.”

Keck School Dean Laura Mosqueda, MD, addressed the alumni before they were presented with medallions marking their induction into the 50 Year Fellows Society. She shared the Keck School’s core mission: To improve the quality of life for individuals and society by promoting health, preventing and curing diseases, advancing biomedical research and educating tomorrow’s clinician-scientist-citizens.

“You have helped the Keck School fulfill this noble mission through your individual and collective contributions to human health and medical science over the past 50 years,” Mosqueda said. “You are the role models that we invite Keck School students to emulate every day as we strive to educate the next generation of physician leaders.”

— Melissa Masatani

From left, Raquel Arias, Anthony Sanchez and Laura Mosqueda are seen at the 50 Year Fellows Society Luncheon, held May 17 in Los Angeles. (Photo/Don Milici)