UAMS receives $2 million scholarship commitment

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 346 views 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $2 million commitment from Rhonda M. Dick, M.D., and Joseph Kennedy “Ken” Dick, MBA, to establish the Dr. Rhonda and Ken Dick Endowed Scholarship in the UAMS College of Medicine. This pledge is made through their revocable trust.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled in the College of Medicine who is a resident of Arkansas, with preference given to a student from or living in a rural area who demonstrates a financial need.

“We are profoundly grateful to Dr. Rhonda and Ken Dick for their generosity and dedication to young Arkansans, especially those from rural areas, who aspire to become physicians and continue their legacy of service in our state,” said Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS executive vice chancellor and College of Medicine dean. “Scholarships are a powerful tool for recruiting promising students to UAMS and to careers in rural medicine, and this endowment will have a tremendous impact for generations to come.”

The Dicks created the scholarship in part to honor the memory of Dr. Herd Stone, in appreciation of his mentorship and compassionate care of the people of Monroe County, Arkansas.

The inspiration for the scholarship’s creation came from Rhonda Dick’s initial experience working in health care. She grew up in Holly Grove, Arkansas, and at age 17, began working in Stone’s medical clinic, curious if it would inspire her to pursue a career in nursing.

“After working for Dr. Stone for about six months, he called me into his office to discuss my career plans. He encouraged me to go to medical school. It was something I had never considered,” she said. “I had not been exposed to many potential career opportunities in our small, isolated rural community and there weren’t many women practicing medicine at that time. So it had never occurred to me as a possibility.”

Stone would continue his mentorship of Dick while she attended Hendrix College and later UAMS, graduating as part of the College of Medicine Class of 1981.

“Dr. Stone taught me some valuable lessons that I carried with me through medical school later in my medical practice,” Dick said. “He often took me on house calls in the evenings to some of the most rural parts of Monroe County to provide medical care to disadvantaged people who were unable to make the trip to his clinic. Although I didn’t realize this until many years later, he did this for a reason. He wanted me to understand the challenges that many of my future patients might be facing. Those lessons served me well throughout my career.”

The scholarship also honors the memory of Ferrill and Betty Martin, the parents of Rhonda Dick, and George Theodore Jr. and Charlotte Kennedy Dick, the parents of Ken Dick.

“Rhonda and I have been blessed with great lives and much of that is because of our respective parents,” said Ken Dick. “Growing up, we both received great support and love from our families, and it set us up to both have fulfilling careers.”

Rhonda Dick retired as the medical director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock in 2019. Ken Dick retired as an assistant director of fiscal services for the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research in 2006.