Meharry Honors Ivy V. Parsons Polk, 94, at the 19th annual Circle of Friends Recognition Gala

Polk with scholarship recipients

Seated with Ivy V. Polk, center, are recipients of the Ivy V. Polk Endowed Scholarship Fund: At left, Teethena Cooper, M.D. ’09, first recipient of the scholarship,  and, at right, Adan Omar, this year's recipient and a 2015 graduate of the School of Medicine. Ms. Polk was presented with this year's prestigious Circle of Friends Award for her generosity.

On Thursday evening, April 16, 2015, Mrs. Ivy V. Parsons Polk, a 94-year-old friend and donor of Meharry Medical College, was honored at the 19th annual Circle of Friends Recognition Gala in one of the most touching tributes ever seen at the institution.

During the ceremony, it was announced that Mrs. Polk had recently named Meharry as beneficiary of her estate. She was also presented with the prestigious Circle of Friends Award, one of the higher accolades given from that group. The award and other acknowledgements Mrs. Polk received came as a complete surprise as she had no idea this was going to be her night.

Circle of Friends logoWhen Mrs. Polk, who lives in New York City, first heard about Meharry Medical College and its mission to educate and train health care providers to care for the underserved, she immediately established the Ivy V. Polk Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2007, given annually to medical students who have shown outstanding academic achievement. Five medical students have received the award since its origin.

Prior to the gala, on April 15, 2015, Mrs. Polk was present at a dedication ceremony, in her honor, as she became the first donor to present a naming opportunity to establish the Ivy V. Polk Student Lounge housed in The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education, Meharry’s newest building on campus.

As Mrs. Polk took center stage at the gala, she declared Meharry as being a great joy in her life. “There’s a special place in my heart for Meharry,” said Polk. “I truly love being associated with an organization who is faithful to the fulfillment of their mission.” She was clearly overwhelmed and stated she never expected any kind of recognition.

The first recipient of Mrs. Polk’s scholarship, Teethena Cooper, M.D. ’09, drove in from Chicago to be with her on her special night and the newest recipient of her scholarship, Adan Omar, a medical student graduating in May 2015, was also at the event to meet and thank Mrs. Polk for her generosity.

Annual gifts to Meharry from Circle of Friends members help advance the College's mission of providing superior education and training to its diverse student body, offering quality clinical care to medically underserved populations and engaging in groundbreaking research on the causes and cures of diseases that have a disproportionate impact on people of color and others from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The donors who represent the Circle of Friends are a distinguished group directly responsible for supporting Meharry students who provide compassionate care to others.