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Schleyer Foundation

Schleyer Family Scholarship Fund

Alumni family supports future leaders in medicine

Schleyer Foundation
William T. Schleyer '73, HD '06

Schleyer Foundation
Marysol Encarnacion, MD Class of ’22

For William T. Schleyer ’73, HD ’06, a Drexel BS in mechanical engineering – followed by an MBA from Harvard Business School – led to a distinguished and influential career, in which he contributed significantly to the rise of the cable television industry and held leadership positions at several media companies. Other family members eventually followed Schleyer’s path to Drexel, including two of his three sons, both graduating from the College of Medicine with MD degrees during the past decade.

The Schleyers have remained committed to their alma mater. Bill honored his class with a financial gift during its twenty-fifth reunion year. In 2007, through the Schleyer Foundation, Bill and his wife, Mary, established the Schleyer Scholars Fund to support undergraduate students having financial need, with a preference for students in the College of Engineering. In addition to scholarship aid, the fund also has provided support to each Scholar for ancillary expenses such as the summer program, tutoring, textbooks, a personal computer, lab fees and co-op living expenses. To date, the Schleyer Scholars Fund has significantly helped 30 students pursue their Drexel degrees.

“It’s been very important for us to stay involved with and support Drexel,” says Bill Schleyer, who served on the University’s Board of Trustees for eight years and is a member of the Drexel 100, the University’s alumni hall of fame. “My sons, other family members and I received an exceptional education here, and we’re confident that current and future generations of Drexel graduates will have a real impact on the world through their professions.”

Over the past ten years, the Schleyer family also has generously supported the College of Medicine, in part to honor the medical training received there by Edward Schleyer, MD ’12, now an orthopedic surgeon in Massachusetts, and William T. Schleyer Jr., MD ’14, a psychiatry specialist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts and a member of the Dean’s Executive Advisory Council at the College of Medicine. Additionally, Will Schleyer will be joining the faculty of Harvard Medical School in fall 2021.

Easing debt burdens enables medical students to pursue specialties and research based on their interests and the needs of patients and society, rather than being drawn only to the most lucrative fields. This is essential to the future of health care.

In 2011, the family established The Schleyer Family Matching Gift Challenge for Scholarships in Medicine Fund. This matching gift challenge was designed to help interested donors incrementally increase their giving, accelerating the growth of annual operating and endowment scholarship funds supporting medical students. Individuals establishing scholarships that support medical students who intend to be primary care physicians in medically underserved communities, with a focus on Philadelphia and communities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have qualified for the matching funds. The primary care definition for this scholarship initiative includes a broad range of specialties, including pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics, family and internal medicine.

With full-tuition support from the Dr. Susan Northwall Scholarship Fund, matched by the Schleyer Family Matching Gift Challenge for Scholarships in Medicine Fund, Marysol Encarnacion, MD Class of ’22, is preparing for a career as a primary care physician, despite her and her family’s limited ability to finance her education. The scholarship fund was established by the late Dr. Northwall’s sister, Karen, and Karen’s husband, Brian Alper, MD ’96.

“I’m able to pursue a lifelong dream of mine,” says Encarnacion. “The time I might normally spend stressing about money is dedicated to productivity instead. I am making the most of this opportunity.”

So far, Schleyer family matching gifts have supported 23 other scholarship funds benefiting 94 Drexel medical students – with vast potential for more.

In late 2020, the Schleyer family pledged an additional $4 million to provide current use scholarships to aid even more medical students. The Schleyer Family Scholarship Fund will benefit future MDs who are committed to train in and enter specialties that will help underserved patients and families.

“It’s a real privilege for our family to support exceptional Drexel students,” says Mary Schleyer. “With our latest investment in Drexel and the College of Medicine, we want to continue enabling students to pursue medical specialties that will be the most useful and important to coming generations, and show our support for the College’s excellent faculty and administration.”

“Bill and Mary Schleyer and their family are generous and dedicated supporters of our College and the future of the medical profession,” says Charles B. Cairns, MD, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean of the College of Medicine and senior vice president of medical affairs. “Scholarship funds help students, and they allow Drexel to recruit capable students from increasingly diverse backgrounds. More broadly, the Schleyers understand that easing debt burdens enables medical students to pursue specialties and research based on their interests and the needs of patients and society, rather than being drawn only to the most lucrative fields. This is essential to the future of health care, and to the ideal that everyone, everywhere has access to care.”

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