$3.8 million donated by US Otago Alumni

University of Otago medical alumnus and radiologist Dr John Stewart. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
University of Otago medical alumnus and radiologist Dr John Stewart. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A University of Otago alumnus’ estate has bequest $3.8 million to support students and research.

The Alumni of the University of Otago in America received its largest donation ever from the late radiologist Dr John Stewart.

The first initiative established through the gift was the John M. Stewart Scholarship which was to be awarded for the first time this month.

The scholarship would support undergraduate Health Sciences students.

Dr Stewart graduated with a Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery from the university in 1966.

After completing internships and residencies in New Zealand and beginning his career in Australia, Dr Stewart moved to the United States accepting a dual position at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee County general Hospital.

Later he moved to Caribou, Maine where he worked at Cary Medical Centre for 35 years.

He kept up with changes in technology and equipment by attending additional training and education in CT scanning, MRI and advanced ultrasound.

Dr Stewart was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and took part in several cancer research trials.

His daughters, Alison and Hermione said Dr Stewart was passionate about cancer research in particular and it was the main reason he wanted to give to the University of Otago.

Going through medical trials for years was not easy for him.

However, he never complained because he knew participating in them would potentially help others.

“He had no desire to buy expensive clothes or cars, he just wanted his money to go on education, learning experiences, and items that lasted.

"I know he would be happy to know that his gift would be going towards students of any background that are hard-working, studious and focused on their study," Alison said.

Applicants for the scholarship were to be enrolled in at least their second year of undergraduate study towards a Health Sciences professional programme.

The scholarship would waver annual tuition fees for up to five years of study.

The number of scholarships awarded each year would be determined by the selection panel.