School of Medicine receives $1.1 million gift

The money will establish a chairperson position and provide scholarships.
Spencer Pearson / Graphic Designer

The School of Medicine received a $1.1 million donation from MU alumni Friday.

The gift, which was presented last Friday by MU alumni George Huggins and Jean Baker, will establish a chairperson position in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health and will provide permanent resources to the school, according to an MU news release.

"Four decades ago, George Huggins left Mizzou filled with inspiration," Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "In his years of teaching at three universities, he shaped the practices of thousands of physicians. He spread his knowledge through his published research and service in professional organizations."

Higgins said he hopes his donation will free up more time for faculty and students to teach and learn.

"When I was in medical school and a junior faculty person, there was a lot of protected time for full-time faculty to not only research, but to teach," Huggins said. "Unfortunately, that has changed over the years. By endowing a significant portion of a faculty salary, we hope to free up time for more teaching."

According an MU News Bureau news release, an additional gift from Huggins and Baker, who married after graduating from MU, will provide scholarships for students in the School of Medicine.

"The lives of countless women and children are better because of Dr. Huggins," Deaton said. "Jean Baker has supported his work, while touching lives through her own service. Now, George and Jean are ensuring that physicians of the future will benefit from the highest quality teaching."

The news release also stated the donation would provide the School of Medicine with permanent, recurring resources for staff and students.

"George Huggins and Jean Baker have been long-time advocates of higher education at MU and elsewhere," School of Medicine Dean Robert Churchill said. "Their gift to the MU School of Medicine will be a permanent legacy of their dedication to improving medical student education and patient care."

Huggins and Baker, who now live in Tuscon, Ariz., met more than 40 years ago at MU through the School of Medicine, but didn't marry until years later when Baker was searching for a physician for her mother.

Huggins received his MD from MU in 1963, completed his residency in 1967 and served as the university hospital's chief surgical resident, according to the news release. Baker has established two previous scholarships at the university: The Larry S. and Jean Baker Harper Endowed Scholarship Fund for International Agricultural Studies and The Chester A. and V. Marguerite Baker Memorial Endowment.

"All my life I have known that education was important," Baker said. "It's important to me to help people who might not be able to go to school on their own. By giving, I set an example for my children to give back."

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