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Alumnus Robert Brown shares why giving back is important to him

Caroline Osborne Remembrance Wall Dedication
Dedication of the Caroline Osborne Remembrance Wall

In 2014, I left Roanoke after four years at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine to explore and make the world a better place. I carried my M.D., a sense of purpose defined by the Virginia Tech motto "Ut Prosim" (That I May Serve), and the rare freedom which comes with graduating from medical school without debt. Thanks to generous scholarships from VTC and the hard work of my parents, I made my career decisions based on service, not servicing debt.

More than two years later as I continue in my third year of residency, my ability to volunteer with search and rescue teams or in a clinic for the disadvantaged and underserved is still made possible by the financial independence I enjoy thanks to those who funded my education. I will never forget the years I spent in Southwest Virginia or the people who shaped the doctor I am today. Our charter class is a small, tight-knit group, as is every class at VTC, linked together by powerful shared experiences.

Among the most important people and powerful experiences I remember is my classmate, Caroline Osborne, and bearing witness as she and her family sought to prolong her life and preserve her spirit in the face of malignant melanoma. I am sorry that many who read this will never know her. I hope you will understand that the praise we give her – those of us who were fortunate enough to know her – is not the empty praise of condolence. It is a gut-wrenching confession that we lost one of the best among us.

Caroline Osborne Remembrance Wall Dedication
Robert Brown gives Ellen Osborne a hug at the remembrance wall dedication

Left with this terrible loss, we as the first proud classes of VTC alumni have a chance to move on and take full advantage of these lives we too often take for granted. There is no way to replace Caroline, but there is every reason to try to do good in the world as she would have done.

This is one reason why I choose to give to the VTC School of Medicine and the Caroline Osborne Memorial Scholarship Fund. With my gifts, I know I am giving students the financial independence which permits the greatest scope of service. I know the funds are directed to students who reflect on Caroline’s life and the greater purpose of practicing medicine.

It is one way in which money can be transformed from a tool of commerce into a tool for inspiration and a means for reaching our highest ideals. My personal contributions may be meager, but I am enormously proud to say I am part of this effort.

I encourage each of you – all of my fellow VTC alumni – to join me with gifts of your own to her scholarship fund at an amount you can afford. Please consider making a contribution today. It is the best way I know to honor Caroline.

Robert Brown, Class of 2014

Alternatively, you can mail a check, made payable to the Virginia Tech Foundation, to
University Advancement, Gift Accounting
University Gateway Center
902 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061
and noting “VTCSOM Caroline Osborne Memorial Scholarship” in the memo line.