Medicine Scholarship Honors Mentor


From left, Dr. Tommy Poirier; Dr. Judson Randolph; Susan Poirier; and Jeff Balser, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. (JOE HOWELL)

The spirit of mentorship and support shown to one medical student decades ago has come full circle in a bequest to establish a full scholarship at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Tommy Poirier, MD’67, and his wife, Susan, have established the scholarship in the name of Poirier’s longtime mentor, Dr. Judson Randolph, MD’53.

Poirier, a gastroenterologist in Sacramento, Calif., says scholarship support to attend Vanderbilt and Randolph’s dedication as a mentor were critically important in his life. “This is a gift that has been on my mind my whole life: to repay what I received, and honor Dr. Randolph,” he says.

Randolph was a mentor and recruitment adviser for VUSM in Boston when he met Poirier in the 1960s. Poirier wanted to attend medical school. “He was a bright, energetic, eager young man,” Randolph recalls. “I thought he was outstanding in our interview, and said so in my report to Vanderbilt. I helped arrange for financial support in the hope he would enroll.”

Randolph says he has enjoyed a lifelong relationship with Poirier, and his actions are proof that paying it forward reaps life’s greatest rewards.

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