Three reasons why I support SAU

By Robert W. Henderson, M.D. 

In 1965, I enrolled at what is now Southern Arkansas University. I studied pre-med and received a very fine education. There were
seven of us who were accepted from SAU by the University of Arkansas College of Medicine in 1968. In those days, you could apply after three years of pre-med with 90 credit hours (including required courses in Biology and Chemistry). All seven of us graduated together
in 1972 and have all enjoyed fulfilling careers in medicine. I went to Dallas for an internship and remained there. I retired in 2011 after 38 wonderful years.

So, Reason One for my support is that it is a way of paying back, with gratitude, for the great education I received that prepared me for medical school.
I share SAU news, publications, and stories with a good friend in Dallas who is a retired orthopedic surgeon. He attended Ivy League schools in the East, ending with a residency at Mt. Sinai in NYC. These schools have become terribly expensive, sometimes leaving a student with $200,000 or more in debt for bachelor’s degree. My friend has studied the SAU story and is amazed a person can get a high-quality education at a public state school that is affordable. This is very important in an era of very expensive higher education. This is Reason Two for my support.

I recently completed the funding of a scholarship endowment at SAU. It is in honor of my mother, Daisy Gillaspie Uhrich; of my father, Judge R.W. Henderson;
and my stepfather, Joel F. Gillaspie. Reason Three for supporting SAU is that it is a great way of honoring or memorializing a loved one or friend. Without SAU, I rather doubt I would have made it to receive my M.D. degree. Thank you to all the great professors who gave so much time and effort to provide us with an incredible pre-med education. Many are now deceased, including Miss Avalee Cox. She was a Biology professor who made such a difference. My group of seven collectively endowed a scholarship in her name that keeps on giving. This is a gift that never ends.

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