issue Summer 2022

Legacy Challenge Continues with Commitment from CMS Alum

By Stephanie Geier
Photo by James C. Svehla

Jeffrey Yessenow, MD ’76, believes that, as much as possible, students should be free to focus on their academic and clinical pursuits. “I recognize the importance and urgency of helping our outstanding students to fully benefit from the education and training offered by Chicago Medical School,” he said. “My years at CMS allowed me to become a successful OB-GYN with eight physicians at our Women’s Wellness Clinic. Surprisingly, a local hospital selected me to become the CEO, and the rest is history. The opportunity and encouragement I received from CMS and mentors like Dean Emeritus Theodore Booden, PhD, empowered me to succeed beyond my own expectation.” Dr. Yessenow now operates a small surgery center and looks forward to his retirement.

To help CMS attract and retain students, Dr. Yessenow and his wife, Marla, documented a planned gift with Rosalind Franklin University that will endow a scholarship for students at CMS upon the Yessenows’ passing and preserve their legacy of support for the school.

Research has proven that the diversification of the healthcare workforce is key to addressing health disparities that exist in our society today. RFU is committed to leveling the playing field by working with donors like Dr. and Mrs. Yessenow to ensure access to healthcare education through the creation of scholarships that help RFU increase access and the diversity of its student body and of eventual professional cohorts.

“The opportunity and encouragement I received from CMS and mentors like Dean Emeritus Theodore Booden, PhD, empowered me to succeed beyond my own expectation.”

The RFU Legacy Challenge, launched in December 2020, uses a matching gift pool — established through a gift from RFU Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Coulson and her husband William Coulson — to match each new or increased planned gift commitment to the university. Through the RFU Legacy Challenge, alumni and friends who notify the university of their qualifying planned gift will help raise both current and future support for the university.

“For us, the Legacy Challenge was a call to action,” the Yessenows said.

The matching funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis to any donor who documents a planned gift. To date, more than $7.8 million in new or increased estate plans have been identified. The Legacy Challenge is scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2022, or until the matching funds have been depleted.

Stephanie Geier is executive director of RFU’s Stewardship and Advancement Services.

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