Investing in Women in Medicine

Alumna’s Own Financial Hurdles as a Student Inspire Her to Help

Dr. Rebecca Leonard ‘76 and Lakin Hardy ‘19

Dr. Rebecca Leonard ‘76 with her scholarship recipient Lakin Hardy ‘19

With financial assistance and perseverance, Dr. Rebecca Leonard pursued her dream of becoming a physician. Today, she is helping young women who share this dream.

In 2015, Rebecca established the Dr. Rebecca M. Leonard Scholarship. This endowed scholarship is awarded to women from the Quincy area majoring in biological sciences and/or chemistry and interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

A fourth-generation Quincyan, Rebecca grew up in a hard-working but financially stressed family. Just getting to college was a challenge. But, through cost savings from living at home, need-based scholarships and working, she was able to attend QU.

Once a college student, Rebecca faced another challenge. "I pursued a career not typically sought by women in the 1970s," Rebecca says. "Mr. Schneider and Dr. Gasser were supportive of my aspirations of being a physician at a time when still less than 10 percent of medical students were women," she says.

Following QU, Rebecca pursued medical school at Southern Illinois University. "QU provided me a well-rounded education and a good basis for further studies," Rebecca says.

After graduation from SIU, Rebecca completed an additional five years of training in pediatrics and the subspecialty of neonatology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She joined the faculty at the University of Missouri but after deciding to experience life outside of the Midwest, joined the faculty at the University of Texas Medical School-Houston. In the 1990s she made her final career move to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After nearly 35 years in the medical field, Rebecca decided to give back. "This scholarship is a way for me to pay it forward and support the next generation of women in the medical field," she says. "QU's excellent science program and superb placement rate makes it an excellent foundation for anyone entering the medical field."

Rebecca also has remembered Quincy University in her estate plan.

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