Thirty-five years after Samuel Topkins, M.D., graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1915, his daughter, Marjorie Topkins, M.D.’50, followed in his footsteps. At a time when women made up only about six percent of the physician workforce nationally, she went on to a successful career as an anesthesiologist at Cornell Medical Center that spanned 46 years. Dr. Marjorie Topkins never forgot her and her father’s alma mater: She’s been a loyal annual fund donor every year since 1975, and her philanthropy prompted the naming of a classroom in the Larner Medical Education Center as the Topkins Family Room, in memory of her father. Her sister, Edith, also received her undergraduate degree from UVM in 1941, as did her daughter, Michaele Ellen Goodman, who graduated from UVM in 1978, and her husband, Avrom Goodman, who graduated in 1951.
To ensure continued support of her alma mater, now the UVM Larner College of Medicine, for decades to come, Dr. Marjorie Topkins established a bequest in 2013 and has revised her estate plans twice to increase her legacy giving, most recently this past year, bringing her total bequest to $100,000. Her connection to the College has remained strong in large part because she sees the value of a UVM medical education – not only through her lifetime of caring for patients, but also through the colleagues she has met along the way. She recalls a resident she supervised, also a UVM medical alum, who summed up what set his education apart. Instead of teaching students about a disease, like many medical schools, he noted that “up at UVM they emphasize patients who have diseases,” setting him up for a lifetime of compassionate caregiving.
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