Michael Weipert, third-year medical student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, was recently announced as one of 60 U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses chosen as 2015 Tillman Scholars.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was created to honor the legacy of Pat Tillman by investing in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships–building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others. In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.

Weipert is currently commissioned with the U.S. Navy and was selected based on his military service with both the U.S. Army and Navy, as well as for his outstanding leadership and academic excellence.

Becoming a doctor has been a goal for Weipert for quite some time. He was on-track for medical school when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Whereupon he quickly decided to join the Army instead of going to medical school in order to deploy as quickly as possible. He left college with enough credits to graduate early, commissioned as an officer, then became a helicopter/fixed wing pilot and deployed to Iraq three times.

Though proud of his service as a pilot, Weipert felt he could do more to help fellow service members. While deployed to Iraq, he often volunteered off-duty at a military hospital. One day, due to the number of injured personnel, a doctor asked him to assist with a surgery to amputate a patient’s injured leg. As he stood in the operating room, Weipert vowed to complete medical school and do everything possible to give back as a military doctor.

At the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Weipert is now in his third year of medical school and working toward his goal to become a Military Emergency Medicine Physician to provide casualty care for wounded troops on the front lines. He also hopes to give back serving on medical missions with the U.S.S. Mercy around the world.

“My ambition in life is to ease suffering and help as many people as I possibly can,” Weipert said.

The 2015 class of Tillman scholars will receive more than $1.7 million in scholarships to pursue their higher education and continue their service in the fields of medicine, law, business, government, education, science and the arts. For the full list of 2015 Tillman Scholars, with the service branches, institutions and fields of study from which they were selected, please visit: http://pattillmanfoundation.org/2015class.

“Pat made his mark as a husband, teammate, soldier and brother. He believed we should always strive to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Marie Tillman, President and Co-Founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “In their own unique ways, the 2015 Tillman Scholars stand apart for their humility and selfless service in and out of uniform. We are proud to fuel their passion for learning and action, so they can make their mark as leaders for our country and communities.”

The Tillman Scholars Program

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Scholars program supports our nation’s active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in their higher education. The scholarship program covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living expenses, for scholars who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution. The selection process for the Tillman Scholars program is highly competitive with up to 60 Tillman Scholars chosen annually. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation, visit www.PatTillmanFoundation.org.

2015 University Partners

During the 2015 selection process, the foundation was proud to collaborate with 18 University Partners, who offer innovative, veteran-specific services and a proven culture of support for student veterans and military spouses, to identify and select qualified candidates on their campuses for the Tillman Scholar screening process. The 2015 University Partners included Texas A&M University.

— Katherine Hancock