He isn’t an alumnus. He wasn’t a patient of the hospital. He doesn’t even know much about Stony Brook University.
But 85-year-old Long Island resident Frank Struhar established the $1.7 million Frank M. Struhar Endowed Fellowship Fund, in the form of a bequest, anyway.
“I was in the process of setting up my will, and I wanted to do two things with my money,” Struhar said. “I wanted to do something in the field of medicine, and I wanted to honor my Slovakian heritage.”
Though Struhar never attended college himself, he became a successful investor. With no children to pass his resources on to, Struhar decided to heed the advice of his father: “Always remember who you are.”
“My Slovakian heritage is my inheritance, and I wanted to pass it along somehow,” Struhar said. “I wanted to find a way to give other Slovaks an opportunity.”
Struhar also said he wanted to help the medical community or the field of medical research somehow. “Take cancer for example. They say there will never be a cure, but I don’t believe it. One of these days, someone with the right funding and the right opportunity will find a cure.”
Perhaps that person will be Slovakian.
After meeting with members of the Stony Brook Foundation, Struhar agreed to create an endowment providing salary and research support Stony Brook Medicine can use to recruit students who have either resided or attended medical school in Slovakia for a medical research fellowship at Stony Brook.
With the Struhar endowment, a young scholar will have the means to conduct groundbreaking research on the frontiers of medicine — in any field — and in doing so safeguard the advancement of medical research, provide the basis for improved healthcare, and ensure the next generation of medical fellows will receive inspiration and training from the superbly prepared Stony Brook mentors and clinicians.
“Honoring the wishes of our donors is so important — and completely possible — no matter how unusual,” explained Dexter Bailey, Jr., Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the Stony Brook Foundation. “We like being creative in establishing scholarships and fellowships that benefit people of a specific background and we’re happy to help Mr. Struhar find a way to perpetuate his Slovakian heritage and advance medical science.
“Stony Brook and its six health schools are leading the way in so many fields. It is critical to find opportunities like the one established by Mr. Struhar to recruit the next generation of medical pioneers.”