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MCG Foundation gets $66 million gift from Dr. J. Harold Harrison

Saturday, April 27, 2013 6:19 PM
Last updated Sunday, April 28, 2013 1:28 AM
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After giving $10 million last year to help fund a building that bears his name, the late Dr. J. Harold Harrison and his family topped that by giving $66 million, what is believed to be the largest gift ever to a public university in Georgia, to fund scholarships and faculty at his beloved Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. J. Harold Harrison, who died in June, and his family topped donated $66 million to the Medical College of Georgia. It is believed to be the largest gift ever to a public university in Georgia.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Dr. J. Harold Harrison, who died in June, and his family topped donated $66 million to the Medical College of Georgia. It is believed to be the largest gift ever to a public university in Georgia.

The Medical College of Georgia Foundation board voted unanimously Saturday to create the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Fellows Fund to facilitate the gift from his estate and his private foundation. Harrison, a longtime member of the foundation who led it in 1974 and 1979, died June 2.

“We shall miss Harold and have already missed him,” said Dr. Cecil F. Whitaker Jr. of Columbus. “We shall miss his intelligence, his wit, his laughter that used to fill this room up. But we won’t miss his generosity.”

The endowment can only be used to fund scholarships for students at MCG, which is part of Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity, and for endowed chairs for faculty at MCG in Augusta.

That is what Harrison really wanted. In 2004, when he was donating $2 million to endow a chair in vascular surgery at MCG, he said he wanted to improve the school and its research for future students.

“They give an opportunity for folks like me from Kite, Ga., to get an education,” he said then. “Anything I can do to help that for the future gives a country boy a chance to go to school. If we can improve the school, we can give him a better chance at getting a quality education that will compete with anybody in the country.”

“And he never forgot that,” said foundation CEO James B. Osborne Sr. “He wanted any family in the state of Georgia to be able to send their children here to go to school and be a doctor. And he wouldn’t have had that opportunity if it had not been for the Medical College of Georgia.”

Harrison was only 18 when he entered MCG and 22 when he graduated in 1948. He went on to be a pioneering vascular surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital in Atlanta, where he established the country’s first vascular training program.

He always returned to his cattle ranch and to his roots, Osborne said. When he endowed the chair in vascular surgery, he said he was a little reluctant to get the publicity and predicted he would “catch a little flak” from his fellow ranchers.

Now he has made the biggest splash ever at a Georgia university, Osborne said.

“I believe it is the largest gift in the history of a public university in the state of Georgia,” he said. “We’ve researched that, and we can’t find any larger gift.”

It is a “transformative gift,” GRU President Ricardo Azziz said.

Harrison “has invested in the future of this medical school. He has invested in our students, in our faculty and by doing so has transformed not just our university, not just our medical school but truly Georgia and the nation,” he said.

Azziz thanked Harrison and his family and also the foundation board.

Osborne said that while he has not calculated exactly what the $66 million endowment will fund, it should provide $2 million to $3 million a year for scholarships.

“I think it is a game changer for the Medical College of Georgia,” he said. “This will enable the school to recruit the best and brightest of medical students” and keep bright students in Georgia.

The first $10 million gift created the J. Harold Harri­son, M.D. Education Com­mons Building, which is being built at MCG. Harrison had to be talked into that one but would be pleased it is there for future students, many of whom will be there because of him, Osborne said.

“In his building, with his scholarship, that’s a great circle,” he said.

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nocnoc
38779
Points
nocnoc 04/27/13 - 07:30 pm
6
2
As a person

who has been treated by many a doctor from MCG
THANK YOU.

Too bad it is no longer your beloved Medical College of Ga. but
a place called GRU.

Riverman1
79736
Points
Riverman1 04/27/13 - 09:13 pm
7
2
What Dr. Harrison Wanted

Osborne said, “I think it is a game changer for the Medical College of Georgia,” he said. “This will enable the school to recruit the best and brightest of medical students” and keep bright students in Georgia."

What Dr. Harrison wanted,“They give an opportunity for folks like me from Kite, Ga., to get an education,” he said then. “Anything I can do to help that for the future gives a country boy a chance to go to school."

Cynical old woman
1090
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Cynical old woman 04/27/13 - 10:40 pm
8
1
100% correct, Riverman!

What a joke MCG is becoming as it transforms into Azziz Temple!

kiwiinamerica
924
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kiwiinamerica 04/27/13 - 11:33 pm
0
0
$66 million........
Unpublished

And that's after a previous $10 million donation.

Wow!!

Surgeons must really rake in the moolah.

ProphetessDeborah
2
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ProphetessDeborah 04/28/13 - 12:09 am
0
0
Dr. J!

OMG.....Lets not focus on MCG.... THIS article is truly about a MAN and HIS FAMILY whose REAL TREASURE is not of THIS WORLD!

Dr. J's family is living out Joshua 24:15.... "As for me and my HOUSE we will serve The Lord!" Hhhhhhhmmmm even when he's gone:0)

STAY BLESSED HARRISON FAMILY... It's coming back in so many ways...

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/28/13 - 05:57 am
7
1
That will pay for a lot of

That will pay for a lot of weddings at the Azziz compound.

JENNPAT
241
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JENNPAT 04/28/13 - 07:17 am
3
2
the hospital sure has changed

i was at m.c.g now known as GRU ans d i still can not remember to call it that it will always be M.C.G to me i was a patient here twice in2012 to have reverse total shoulders done right and left by Dr Crosby who was wonderful. but i could tell the different there between the two times i was there even the food was not as good and the service was sure not as good I guess AZZIZ is trying to cut back but the patients are the ones going without.my insurance company took M.C.G out of their net workwork so then i had to stop seeing Dr Crosby i think it has to something with the hospital

seenitB4
81891
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seenitB4 04/28/13 - 07:54 am
4
0
What a wonderful gift

To think...all of this from the small town of Kite Ga.....a few miles from Swainsboro....I just hope many Ga students will make use of this..

CobaltGeorge
150917
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CobaltGeorge 04/28/13 - 08:01 am
2
4
JENNPAT

Just an observation and possible suggestion. I think you need to invest into a new keyboard. The Period Key, Shift Key and Comma Key don't seem to be working.
You made a good point on AZZIZ though.

jwynn9154
39
Points
jwynn9154 04/28/13 - 08:17 am
1
0
Tremendous!

What a great gift from Dr. Harrison. Kudos to Dr. Osborne and the MCG Foundation staff and board.

It sounds as if this will be limited to scholarships and endowed chairs at MCG (the School of Medicine) and not the university at large. This gives us a real opportunity to recruit truly outstanding physicians and researchers to Augusta and to help us reach our goal of becoming a WORLD CLASS ACADEMIC MEDICAL CENTER.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 04/28/13 - 09:03 am
0
0
Hopefully Izuzu will keep his
Unpublished

Hopefully Izuzu will keep his hands off the money.

Riverman1
79736
Points
Riverman1 04/28/13 - 10:11 am
6
2
Follow Dr. Harrison's Wishes

Again, follow the wishes of what Dr. Harrison wanted. He was pretty clear: "...an opportunity for folks like me from Kite, Ga., to get an education.”

jwynn9154
39
Points
jwynn9154 04/28/13 - 04:01 pm
1
1
Tremendous!

So, Riverman, it is great that the gift specifies that the "endowment can only be used to fund scholarships for students at MCG, which is part of Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity, and for endowed chairs for faculty at MCG in Augusta."

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of folks like Dr. Harrison from Kite - he was pretty much one of a kind.

But there are a bunch of other deserving men and women from around the state who will benefit from his remarkable gift.

Riverman1
79736
Points
Riverman1 04/28/13 - 05:00 pm
3
2
Students from Georgia

I have no problem with funding scholarships for "deserving men and women from around the state." That's what it appears to me he wanted. My concern is the idea of emphasis on recruiting "best and brightest" students whether they come from Uruguay or China, who will likely return to their countries.

"He wanted any family in the state of Georgia to be able to send their children here to go to school and be a doctor."

Here are Dr. Harrison's words again: "Anything I can do to help that for the future gives a country boy a chance to go to school."

commonsense-is-endangere
43
Points
commonsense-is-endangere 04/28/13 - 10:25 pm
0
0
Big bucks from a country boy

Big bucks from a country boy treating the sick.

jtr0777
21
Points
jtr0777 04/28/13 - 10:29 pm
0
0
Donations

All that money given, and I keep praying for just enough to build a small church - so that we didn't have to keep renting a store.

agrit
178
Points
agrit 04/28/13 - 10:40 pm
1
1
Dr. Harrison ...

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Harrison and he was one of a kind. He was one of the most humble men I've ever met. I hope that there is not some kind of loophole that GRU will be able to get through to misuse this money. It was meant for the education of future Georgia doctors and I hope that MCG (school of medicine) holds tight to these funds.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 04/29/13 - 09:11 am
0
0
Riverman - You beat me to the
Unpublished

Riverman - You beat me to the punch -- several times. Let us all hope that the money funds the education of people like Dr. Harrison wanted. He does sound like a pretty amazing guy.

MD2013
101
Points
MD2013 04/29/13 - 09:15 am
0
0
Fantastic

Words can't begin to describe how much of an impact this gift will have, both for MCG and its medical students going forward, as this impact will provide support to offset the cost of rising medical education ($250,000/student), and hopefully allow students to pursue fields of interest that were quickly becoming unreasonable due to mounting debt.

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