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A Message From The Alumni Association President: Downstate and the American Dream

Historically the United States has attracted immigrants from all over the world because we are viewed as a country where those seeking freedom from persecution and or opportunities to succeed financially can achieve their goals.

One of the great generators of upward social mobility has been the State University System in New York. Downstate as part of that system has afforded qualified students the opportunity to attain their goal of becoming physicians without being saddled by the huge debt their colleagues incur at private universities. In every graduating class at Downstate, the American dream of the opportunity to become a well-qualified member of the medical profession happens. Yet this dream is eroding. Downstate used to have essentially nominal tuition but that is no longer the case. Tuition is less than at private universities but graduates can still be saddled with significant debt that can take decades to pay off.

Many graduates have taken advantage of the low-cost education they received, moved on and have totally forgotten about the great gift that they have received from Downstate. Unfortunately, that is not what we should be about.

What we as a community should realize is there are always new students facing the economic hurdles and the academic hurdles of becoming physicians and that we should be helping them. Think about what your lives would have been without Downstate, and remember what it was like to struggle through medical school.

Giving back is always gratifying. The Alumni Association gives out about $750,000 per year in scholarships and grants to the Downstate community of approximately 800 students. We can do much better and it does not take a lot to achieve that goal. We have approximately 11,000 alumni and with even an average contribution of $50 per alumni, we could dramatically increase our giving.

Look at all the ads seeking $18 a month to rescue animals don’t you think we can help the future generation of physicians with even a smaller average donation. It is time to help rescue a medical student from burdensome debt. Our Annual Gala and fundraiser is coming up on May 18, 2019, at the Brooklyn Marriott. All graduates are welcome! The band is great and you will have a fun evening connecting with fellow alumni. This year we have also added a silent auction to the agenda.

Because Downstate was not a fun experience for some, many of you do have fond memories. Yet every day of your life was changed by going to Downstate. Share your thoughts and participate in our online community.  Come to our events including upcoming regional events and consider hosting a regional event.

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