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The gift of studying abroad

Dr. Michael Lichter and Dr. Valerie Atkins

Michael Lichter (MD ’87) and Valerie Atkins (MD ’87)

Dr. Lichter and Dr. Atkins met when both were students at the Stritch School of Medicine. He was pursuing dermatology, while she was pursuing pediatrics. They have included Loyola as a percentage beneficiary of their estate. Their legacy gift will be used to establish a permanent endowed scholarship for medical students.

Q: How did you meet?
(Valerie) We met in our second year. On Valentine’s Day, I had brought in some chocolate hearts, which I was going to distribute to some girlfriends. One didn’t show up, so I had an extra chocolate heart. Two rows behind me was Michael with his morning paper and coffee, so I gave him a heart and the rest is history.

Q: What did you value about your time at Loyola?
(Michael) We both had very fond memories of it. We both felt that Loyola prepared us well for our careers ahead, and we felt we were well trained compared to our colleagues. The quality of our education and affinity for Loyola and the Stritch School of Medicine is the main reason we wanted to give back.

Q: Why have you included Loyola as a beneficiary of your estate?
(Michael) Since medical school is so expensive, we know there are plenty of people with limited financial resources who would benefit from having some or all of their education paid for. We are fortunate to be able to support future medical professionals in this way.

(Valerie) Being doctors allowed us to do the thing we loved and gave us a lot of opportunities. Partway through medical school, I needed financial aid to continue my studies. I asked Loyola for assistance, and their support helped me finish my program.

Q: What do you hope this gift will accomplish for Loyola and its students?
(Michael) I hope it allows students to be able to study the specialty of medicine they feel called to practice without having first to worry about financial considerations.


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