Estate of professor emeritus establishes $1 million endowed scholarship

October 01, 2020

The estate of Dr. Alphonse E. Leure-duPree, former associate dean for academic achievement and professor emeritus of neural and behavioral sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, has endowed a $1 million scholarship for students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the Penn State community. Leure-duPree, who died in 2014, spent more than three decades with the College of Medicine, from 1973 to 2010.

This scholarship reflects what Leure-duPree’s commitment to promoting diversity, connecting students from communities historically underrepresented in higher education with mentors and helping them succeed in medical school and throughout their careers.  Based on current rates, the endowment will yield approximately $45,000 each year to award to medical students.

“Dr. Leure-duPree would be delighted to know that he continues to create a better environment for diverse students,” said Dr. Darell Covington, 1981, one of the executors of the estate, and mentee and friend of Leure-duPree.

“We are committed to creating a supportive space for all students,” said Dr. Kevin Black, interim dean of the College of Medicine. “We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary gift, which will increase educational access for a diverse medical student body in the years to come.”

Leure-duPree’s commitment to diversity in the College of Medicine continues not only through this scholarship, but also through an endowed memorial scholarship that former students are creating in his honor.

“Many of us are grateful for the support that Dr. Leure-duPree provided us in launching our medical careers, and we want to provide this support to our current diverse medical students,” said Dr. Erika van Putten, a former College of Medicine student and pediatrician in Georgia who helped found the memorial scholarship. 

Inspired in part by Leure-duPree, the College of Medicine’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion created a Champion Mentor Program to connect students with distinguished alumni and faculty members to discuss topics relevant to communities historically underrepresented in health sciences education.

“Both the estate and alumni memorial scholarships will have a significant impact on the number of diverse medical students we can attract,” said Lynette Chappell-Williams, vice president and chief diversity officer of Penn State Health and associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Medicine. “Between two new scholarships and this mentor program, we are in position to make a profound impact with our diverse medical student recruitment and retention efforts.”

These scholarships will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit



Last Updated April 15, 2021