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The Dr. William And Helene Powers Scholarship Endowment
In 2015, Pam and Paul Lander established the Dr. William and Helene Powers Scholarship Endowment in honor of Pam’s parents. The endowment established scholarships for 4th year medical students at the UND SMHS interested in primary care, providing a single scholarship to a fourth-year student annually.
But why UND? Why primary care?
“We decided on the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences—and students interested in primary care in particular—because of the many opportunities the School provided to Pam’s family,” explains Paul. “We were motivated to set up the endowment as a way to honor not only Bill’s long and successful career as a primary care physician in Grand Forks, but Helene, who made a significant contribution throughout her life supporting Bill’s medical profession. We felt it was important to include both of their names in the endowment.”
“You might say that my mother provided ‘primary care’ to our family for decades,” adds Pam with a smile. “And because primary care and family medicine are a focus of the School of Medicine, UND was an obvious choice for us.”
Dr. William and Helene Powers (center)
flanked by Pamela and Paul Lander
UND does seem to be in the Landers’ blood: Pam’s and Paul’s parents, Pam and her five siblings, and Paul’s sister all graduated from UND. Likewise, some of Bill’s and Helene’s grandchildren either attended or currently attend UND. Such a tradition started with the endowment’s namesake. After earning his BS in Medicine from UND in 1953, William Powers went on to Creighton University, which awarded him an MD degree in 1955. Dr. Powers and his spouse then returned to the greater Grand Forks area almost immediately to practice at what was then Valley Medical Family Practice.
Not long into his career, Dr. Powers found himself filling the role of Chief of Staff at the former St. Michael’s Hospital, the former Deaconess Hospital, and the former United Hospital (which merged with the area Rehabilitation Hospital to become Altru Health System in 1997, two years after Dr. Powers retired). Over the course of his medical career, Dr. Powers also served as Public Health Officer for the City and County of Grand Forks, President of the North Dakota Medical Association, and President of North Dakota chapter of the American Medical Political Action Committee.
In addition to countless lives touched, the legacy of Dr. Powers’ work is not only a named endowment but a named room at the new UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building. To be specific, Simulation Room 1 in the SMHS Simulation Center—a fully-operational surgical suite used by medical students and other future providers each week as they train for any number of hospital scenarios—is known as the Dr. William Powers Room.
“I’m very happy with how it turned out,” Dr. Powers explained of the visit he made to the Simulation Center recently, whereupon he witnessed “his” room in use. “We went up to see the space and there was a student and a doctor in attendance using the simulation room with a human patient—an actor—and it was very impressive. I’m very proud to have our name on that space.”
Like the Landers, future donors interested in leaving a similar legacy are encouraged to inquire about matching gift programs such as the UND Promise, tax incentives such as the North Dakota Tax Credit on Charitable Gifts, and other pledges. Anyone interested in helping grow the Dr. William and Helene Powers Scholarship Endowment can make a donation to the fund at any time.
If you would like to contribute, please do so online here.