Philanthropy: Barksdale Scholars: Awards salute family’s lineage of physicians
By Gary Pettus
In 2013, seven more future physicians benefitted from the commitment of Mississippi’s Barksdale family, which continues to fund scholarships for medical students at UMMC.
The latest crop of Barksdale Scholars, members of the medical school class of 2017, was honored in November: Jedd Jack Audrey, Matthew Todd Valentine, Kendra Shavon Robinson-Taylor, Mary Ruth Windham, Yolanda Erettet Ross, Blythe Hope Bynum and Bailey Andrew Hansen.
The scholarship awards began in 1999, thanks to a $2 million gift from Sally Barksdale and her husband James Barksdale, a former Netscape CEO and a native Mississippian.
The Barksdales named the scholarships in honor of the physicians in their family: Dr. Bryan Barksdale and Dr. Don Mitchell of Jackson and Dr. Fred McDonnell of Hazlehurst.
“The Barksdale family makes a tremendous contribution to the health of Mississippians through their ongoing commitment to the Barksdale Scholars,” said Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
“They have partnered with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Medicine in educating the best and brightest medical students.”
The medical scholarships are made possible by the Barksdale Family Account in the University of Mississippi Foundation. The scholarships are awarded to first-year students based on achievement, need and a history of underrepresentation in medicine.
Recipients agree to practice in Mississippi for at least five years.
“Their presence is far-reaching and extends beyond the lives of the patients they care for,” Keeton said.
“UMMC’s research tells us that for every medical doctor who moves into a community, the economic impact is significant.
“The outcome is the equivalent of approximately $2 million annually, resulting in the creation of 20-25 jobs, increased economic development, improved quality of life for the people of the community, and the attraction of new businesses.”
The Barksdale Foundation has also furnished funds to create the Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi and established the Barksdale Reading Institute to foster literacy statewide.
More than 80 graduates of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss have attended the School of Medicine between 2001 and 2013, according to an estimate from the Honors College.