Medical students benefit from scholarship fund honoring Dr. Karl Wegner

VERMILLION, S.D. -- To honor the legacy of Dr. Karl Wegner, a scholarship fund for students enrolled in the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has been established by the 7th District of the South Dakota Medical Association and the Sanford School of Medicine.

Wegner, a Pierre native, served as dean of the University of South Dakota Medical School from 1973 to 1980 and helped lead the medical school from two-year to four-year status in 1974.

Scholarships will be awarded to third or fourth year medical students intending to practice in the 7th District after they graduate.  The 7th District includes Sioux Falls and nearby areas.  In addition to his work with the medical school, Wegner practiced pathology in Sioux Falls for many years, starting in 1962.  He died on April, 4, 2014.

The 7th District has pledged $100,000 to establish the endowed scholarship fund. Monies contributed by the 7th District will be matched by funds from the USD Sanford School of Medicine Endowment Campaign.

Dr. Paul Amundson, chair of the 7th District Scholarship Committee, explained the purpose of the 7th District in establishing the scholarship.  “The district’s intent is to help underwrite the cost of medical education for students from South Dakota,” said Amundson. “And we felt strongly about honoring Dr. Wegner as many of our members had ties to Dr. Wegner, and because the medical community in this area and in the entire state owes so much to him.”

The medical school and the University of South Dakota Foundation appreciate the generosity and initiative of the 7th District, added Dr. Mary Nettleman, dean of the USD Sanford School of Medicine, who said “we are deeply grateful to the members of the 7th District of the SDSMA for establishing this scholarship for our deserving students. It is especially appropriate that it is named in honor of Dr. Wegner. Not only was Dr. Wegner a significant part of the medical school’s history, but he considered himself first and foremost a teacher, and the interests of our students were his paramount concern.”

Margaret Wegner, widow of Dr. Wegner, is elated at the generous and perpetual scholarship established in her husband’s name.  “This ongoing scholarship program,” she added, “is especially gratifying and fitting because Karl considered his work as a teacher and the interaction he had with medical students to be the most important aspect of his professional life.” 

ABOUT THE SANFORD SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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