Spring 2015
Estate gift to help medical students for years

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

George H. Bourget and Judy Bourget


The late George H. Bourget and his daughter, Judy Bourget, M.D. '90, made provisions in his estate to establish the George H. Bourget Endowed Scholarship for Medical Students through a planned gift. Photo courtesy of the Bourget family.

Story by Roseann Keegan

In appreciation for his daughter’s education at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, the late George H. Bourget made provisions in his estate to establish the George H. Bourget Endowed Scholarship for Medical Students through a $2.9 million planned gift.

Bourget’s daughter, Judy Bourget, M.D. '90, is a School of Medicine graduate and maintains a practice in Southern California. She too benefited from the generosity of medical school philanthropists.

“I received scholarships as a student, but I wouldn’t have been able to attend medical school without them,” Judy Bourget says.

“I am extremely proud of my father’s accomplishments and the fact that he chose to share his generosity with future generations of medical students at my alma mater.”

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, says such scholarships go a long way in alleviating medical student debt and its accompanying anxiety.

“The School of Medicine is extremely appreciative of Mr. Bourget’s generosity that will help so many students,” Schwenk says.

“Medical student debt is a concern for all medical educators and especially for deans. We know that debt may influence decisions that students make about the medical specialties or types of careers that they choose. We are always looking for ways to reduce that debt, while still securing the tuition support that leads to the best medical education.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), annual tuition at the School of Medicine for a Nevada resident is $24,144 for each of the four years of undergraduate medical education. This does not include books, insurance, mandatory fees and cost of living. These items are calculated in the overall cost of attendance of $57,412 a year, averaged over four years of medical school.

By the self-reporting numbers provided by medical students on the annual entering and graduating student questionnaires administered by the AAMC, the average School of Medicine undergraduate educational debt is $16,000, well below the national average of $25,000.

University of Nevada School of Medicine alumni graduate with an average of $166,000 in debt.

As the School of Medicine seeks to be the best possible medical school and contribute to the best possible health care system in Nevada, Schwenk says these goals could not be achieved without donor support.

“I am impressed every day with how hard so many people work to provide the best patient care, be the best teachers, conduct the best research, be the best partners with our communities, and be the best administrative and academic enterprise we can be,” Schwenk says.

“But it takes more than hard work and desire, no matter how dedicated or strong. It takes an investment from our community. We are fortunate to have so many supporters, like Mr. Bourget, whose confidence in us can be measured in their generosity.”

Bourget was a decorated World War II veteran who landed on the beaches of Normandy and fought in the European theater until the end of the war. After the war, he returned home and became a successful California real estate developer.