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A Legacy of Growth for Payne Scholarship Recipients

By Colleen Chase

Published on February 5, 2021

Delbert PayneThe reverberation of receiving a scholarship has a lasting and lifelong impact on students, not just during their years of study but afterward, as they build their careers and use the education that donors helped make possible. The Delbert S. Payne Endowed Scholarship (like many of our endowed funds at USciences) was created to relieve financial stress so students can grow and develop their professional careers. An investment in the futures of our students through scholarship translates to a lifetime of proven outcomes and success for our graduates.

The Delbert S. Payne Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to one Black student each year, was established in 2010 by a former Rohm & Haas employee, the late John C. Haas, in honor of his longtime friend and former colleague Delbert S. Payne. Payne served on the USciences board of trustees from 1990 until April 2011 when he retired from the board and the chair position he had held since 2000. Payne’s tenure on the board was marked by historic growth and development of the University. Unfortunately, he would pass away in May 2011 just a short time after his retirement. The scholarship continues to help students each year and honors Delbert’s memory and contributions to the university.

Over time, the Delbert S. Payne Endowed Scholarship has taken shape and since its inception, the Payne family continues to play an active role in the lives of those touched by the legacy and memory of Del.

Former recipients share how they continue to benefit from the philanthropic support they were provided as students: 

Kimmara Williams BC'20A recent graduate, Kimmara Williams, BC'20, is seeking opportunities at Veteran Affairs hospitals in Virginia to gain professional experience. 

“My time at USciences helped me grow into the person I am today and solidify the career path I would like to be on,” said Williams. “I always wanted to be a doctor but never knew what I wanted to specialize in. I decided I would like to work with our veterans, which is why I hope to work at a Veterans Affairs hospital before, during, and after medical school.”

“I am grateful for the ways in which the Payne Scholarship has helped me. It has taken a great load of the financial stress off the backs of myself and my mother so that we could focus our resources and energy elsewhere. It reminds me there are folks out there who believe in me, what I have done, and what I can accomplish.”

The scholarship support helped Williams through one of the most difficult points in his life, just as his father passed away from lung cancer. “The aforementioned motivational boost and financial relief helped ease my grieving process and academically produce my best semester at USciences. I consider overcoming this adversity as my proudest moment (graduating is a close second), and without the help I received from the Delbert Payne Scholarship, I do not think I could have achieved this.” 

Christian Ruffin PharmD'18Christian Ruffin, PharmD'18, a Global Medical Affairs Postdoctoral Fellow, is pursuing a Masters of Public Health at Northeastern University. “Following graduation, I gained more experience exploring a variety of pharmacy settings,” said Dr. Ruffin. “When reflecting on where I am today, I would not be successful without the support of others. The Delbert Payne Scholarship supported me both financially and emotionally. I was able to be successful as a student because the scholarship allowed me to focus on my education. Emotionally, it means the world that someone recognizes my accomplishments and endeavors.”

The scholarship provided him with motivation and still does. “I still keep in touch with Mrs. Payne,” he said. “She always let me know how proud she is of me. Delbert was very accomplished and maybe I can have the same sort of impact that he did.”

Ruffin’s father recently established the Christian Ruffin Scholarship in his honor. There’s a student out there like Ruffin, and he looks forward to recognizing their accomplishments and potential as the Payne scholarship recognized his.

“As a minority, I believe having minority representation and a voice in the healthcare and science industry is extremely important,” said Ruffin. “Being in this field allows me to help ensure that minority populations have appropriate representation and have the resources available to them.” 

Daniel Boulous PharmD'15Daniel Boulous, PharmD'15, supports oncology field medical teams at Bristol Myers Squibb in Princeton, NJ. By equipping them with the appropriate medical resources and tools, his work allows physicians to make informed decisions.

“This, in turn, allows our patients to receive the best treatment option for them,” said Dr. Boulous. “My activity at USciences taught me how to get involved and be proactive in the academic community and the department of resident life. Those experiences led to my ability to be proactive and involved in the workplace. This has led to many career growth opportunities.”

The Payne Scholarship was an enormous lift on the burden that strained Dr. Boulous’ family during his education. “I was shocked and thankful. Being awarded this scholarship during university was a tremendous confidence booster,” he said. “This award not only helped build me financially but also socially. This then translated into more opportunity and growth because I was willing to aim higher and ultimately achieve more. I continue to be thankful for the support I received as a student that led me to where I am today.”

Dr. Boulous says without diversity, healthcare solutions will only be second best. “Second best is not good enough,” he said. Coming from an immigrant family, Dr. Boulous said he values the way companies are valuing advocates for diversity because it shows that his contributions are valued.

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