College of Medicine alum “gives back” $1 million for scholarships

December 3, 2015

The Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine recently received its first one million dollar alumni gift from Jay Olen Franklin, M.D., a member of the medical school’s inaugural class, and his wife Ana. This gift to the Texas A&M Foundation will one day create the Ana Hernandez Franklin ’80 and Jay Olen Franklin ’78 Scholarships, dedicated to scholarship aid for medical students at Texas A&M.

The couple, who met during their undergraduate years at Texas A&M said they wanted to give back to the institution that gave them so much. Jay Franklin was a member of the charter class of medical students at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and actually began the program while a senior member of the Corps of Cadets.

“Two endowed scholarships were offered by the College of Medicine for the inaugural class of at the new medical school in 1977. I was very honored to receive the Dr. Sam Houston Sanders ’22 Presidential Scholarship in Medicine and it set me on my path to a very rewarding career,” Jay Franklin said. “I want others to have the same opportunities I had from receiving scholarship aid. Ana and I are excited to be able to give back to Texas A&M College of Medicine in the manner that Dr. Sanders has given to A&M.”

Indeed, that scholarship and his degree from the Texas A&M College of Medicine set him on a path to great achievements. Franklin did an internship in Internal Medicine at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, and then was a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Louisville which included a year as chief resident in Internal Medicine. A Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship followed at the University of Missouri where he was named outstanding fellow. His final training was completed with a second fellowship in Cardiac Electrophysiology in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco. Franklin has been affiliated with the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas since completing his training and is highly respected in his field as a cardiac electrophysiologist.

The $1 million life insurance gift that the Franklins established will create a total of four scholarships, one to provide full-ride funding for a student and three Dean’s Excellence Scholarships which provide $5,000 each per year.

The Franklins have been friends and supporters of the college for quite some time. They are founding members and have helped spear-head the Texas A&M College of Medicine Dean’s Leadership Council – Rapport Society for nearly a decade.

The Rapport Society is a philanthropic organization of alumni and friends dedicated to assisting the Dean to achieve the mission and vision of the college by proactively supporting and promoting the outstanding education, research, public service and social responsibility of the college. To date, 16 individual scholarships have been created, with an additional $200,000 established in endowed scholarships.

“Our hearts have always been with the scholarships,” Ana Franklin said. “The Rapport Society has given us many ways to make an impact, and funding scholarships just felt like the right place for us to start. Jay and I are committed to the mission of the Rapport Society to promote the College of Medicine.”

The Franklins expressed that when they were approached as part of the “Lead by Example” campaign the request for a large cash donation seemed daunting. But when they sat down with Andrew Robison, director of development for the College of Medicine, they said the process was far less intimidating than they thought. “When Andrew proposed that we consider our after-lifetime options, what had initially sounded impossible actually turned out to be a really simple way to make a substantial and impactful gift.”

Fellow member of the charter class, Paul Ogden, M.D., Interim Senior Vice President and Dean of the College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center, expressed his heartfelt appreciation for his fellow classmate’s generosity. “The role of our alumni in the advancement of the college is imperative to our success and the future of our students, no one understands this more than the Franklins,” Ogden said. “Jay and Ana have set an outstanding and generous example for their fellow alumni to follow, not just through this gift, but through all their support of the College of Medicine.”

The only criteria the Franklins put in place for the scholarships is that the recipients receive their undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University, no doubt an effort to aid students who followed their own path through College Station.

“At the end of the day,” Jay Franklin said, “we’re just Aggies trying our best to pay it forward and help future Aggies however we can.”

To learn more about giving to the College of Medicine, please contact Andrew Robison,

— Katherine Hancock

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