The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $1 million gift from the Ethel Brickey Hicks Charitable Corporation to create a scholarship in the College of Medicine, which will be called the Ethel Brickey Hicks Endowed Scholarship.
“Scholarships are crucial in our efforts to attract the very best students to UAMS and, ultimately, produce outstanding physicians for Arkansas communities where they are needed most,” said Dr. Susan Smyth, executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the College of Medicine. “We are grateful to the Ethel Brickey Hicks Charitable Corporation and the late Mrs. Hicks for this new gift and their generous, longstanding support for medical students who aspire to practice in rural Arkansas.”
The late Ethel Brickey Hicks of Knox County, Tennessee, established a trust fund in 1994 to provide tuition loans to junior and senior medical students who wish to practice medicine in rural Arkansas. The trustees of the fund then formed the Ethel Brickey Hicks Charitable Corporation to grant and administer the loans. This became the Hicks Rural Scholarship program. For each year of qualifying rural practice, the graduate’s loan, up to $19,000 a year, was deemed a scholarship. Over the years, the program was highly successful, with approximately 95% of students practicing in qualifying rural Arkansas communities. The Ethel Brickey Hicks trust has awarded more than $1.7 million to UAMS medical students over the past 27 years.
The corporation’s $1 million gift represents the transfer of trust funds to UAMS to continue Hicks’ wishes to aid medical students for as long as possible. Now, the College of Medicine Scholarship Committee will determine the number of scholarships and amounts awarded each year, with preference given to medical students who pledge to practice in medically underserved communities.
The corporation credited Tom South, assistant dean for medical student admissions in the College of Medicine, with ensuring the success of the Hicks scholarships over the years. South, who has been with UAMS and the College of Medicine since 1984, is an ex-officio member on the college’s Scholarship Committee and has administered and shepherded countless medical student scholarships for more than 35 years.