March 7, 2024

New planned gift helps School of Medicine students move forward with their education

"Someone at one point in time provided scholarship funds for me to get my education,” said George Hutter, M.D., who earned his medical degree from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1986. Recognizing the importance of such support, Dr. Hutter and his husband, Eugene Gumbert, have made an estate gift to establish the George E. Hutter, M.D., and Eugene A. Gumbert Endowed Scholarship to help future generations of students achieve a medical education.

George Hutter, M.D., of the Class of 1986.

Dr. Hutter’s path to higher education and medical school was marked by hardships and changes in direction. His mother died when he was 17, and his father died a year later. Though he performed well in high school, the loss of his parents resulted in many challenges, including how to pay for college.

Scholarship support enabled him to attend Fordham University from 1966 to 1970 and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. For the next decade, he worked for a medical diagnostic and pharmaceutical company. Though it was good work, he began to think his talents would be a better fit elsewhere.

“Something was missing in my career,” Dr. Hutter said. “I was on the sidelines, providing different things that helped patients, but I wanted to have a more direct role in patient care.”

When Dr. Hutter made the decision to pursue medicine, he approached his now husband Eugene about the idea. Eugene’s immediate response was, “I’ll help you get through it.” When Dr. Hutter applied to medical school in the 1980s he was in his early 30s. At the time, most schools had age restrictions and would not even consider his application. Fortunately, he was accepted by one that gave him a chance, Wayne State’s School of Medicine, and with financial assistance from his now spouse, Dr. Hutter went straight through medical school and residency, and has been a primary care provider since.

Recalling Wayne State’s openness and the scholarship support he received as an undergraduate, Dr. Hutter and his husband have made Wayne State’s School of Medicine part of their will. Their planned gift will establish a scholarship to assist students who may not otherwise have a chance to pursue a medical education.

Eugene Gumbert, left, and George Hutter, M.D.

“Just because you're academically qualified doesn't mean you have the resources to cover the expense of an education,” Dr. Hutter said. “Eugene and I both feel very strongly that there are students out there who are qualified who may not have the resources to get the education they need without some assistance.”

Dr. Hutter emphasized that a first-class medical education provides a rewarding career, but there is a need to learn to listen and be present for patients.

“We’re confident that Wayne State's School of Medicine will provide an outstanding education and prepare these students for an outstanding career in medicine,” he said. “Wayne State will prepare them to be competent, but also caring and compassionate physicians.”

Dr. Hutter continues to practice medicine and teach at the Bayfront Family Medicine Residency Program in St. Petersburg, Fla. He has received numerous awards, including the Florida Family Physician Educator Award for outstanding efforts in providing quality education to medical students, residents and practicing family physicians.

He noted part of that education is to ensure students understand the special relationship between doctor and patient.

“Patients tell us some of the most private things and give us their trust, and it is a real privilege to be able to enter that sphere,” Dr. Hutter said. “I hope scholarship recipients never take that lightly, the privilege we have and the responsibility to provide the best care to those who trust us.”

To learn more about how to support the School of Medicine, or to establish a similar scholarship, contact Lori Robitaille in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at lrobitai@med.wayne.edu.

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