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UAMS receives $2 million commitment to establish Dr. Rhonda & Ken Dick Endowed Scholarship



Little Rock, Arkansas – Rhonda M. Dick, M.D., and Joseph Kennedy “Ken” Dick, MBA, pledged $ 2 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on Thursday.

Dr. Rhonda and Ken Dick Endowed scholarships will be established as a result of this pledge, which was made through their revocable trust.

“We are profoundly grateful to Dr. Rhonda and Ken Dick for their generosity and dedication to young Arkansans, especially those from rural areas, who aspire to become physicians and continue their legacy of service in our state,” said Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS executive vice chancellor and College of Medicine dean. “Scholarships are a powerful tool for recruiting promising students to UAMS and to careers in rural medicine, and this endowment will have a tremendous impact for generations to come.”

This grant will be given to a College of Medicine student from Arkansas who has financial need and is enrolled in the program.

The Dicks established the scholarship in Dr. Herd Stone’s memory as a token of gratitude for his mentoring and concern for the people of Monroe County.

“After working for Dr. Stone for about six months, he called me into his office to discuss my career plans. He encouraged me to go to medical school. It was something I had never considered,” said Rhonda. “I had not been exposed to many potential career opportunities in our small, isolated rural community and there weren’t many women practicing medicine at that time. So it had never occurred to me as a possibility.”

Stone remained to be her mentor even as she attended Hendrix College and eventually UAMS.

“Dr. Stone taught me some valuable lessons that I carried with me through medical school later in my medical practice,” said Dick. “He often took me on house calls in the evenings to some of the most rural parts of Monroe County to provide medical care to disadvantaged people who were unable to make the trip to his clinic. Although I didn’t realize this until many years later, he did this for a reason. He wanted me to understand the challenges that many of my future patients might be facing. Those lessons served me well throughout my career.”

The pair wants this scholarship to encourage and enable a student to think about a future in primary care.

“Considering the expense of medical school, it is understandable that many doctors feel that they need to become specialists in a field of medicine,” said Rhonda. “We wouldn’t mind that this scholarship would allow a student to pursue a career in primary care, and we would love it if it was in a rural community in Arkansas.”

The scholarship, according to the couple, honors their parents.

“Rhonda and I have been blessed with great lives and much of that is because of our respective parents,” said Ken. “Growing up, we both received great support and love from our families, and it set us up to both have fulfilling careers.”

At Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Rhonda retired from her position as the department’s medical director in 2019.

In 2006, Ken resigned from his position as the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Branch’s assistant director of fiscal services.