Class of 1960 Rallies for Future Doctors

When KU alumnus Bob Daugherty, M.D., has a goal in mind, he will find a way to get it accomplished. He was passionate about creating a scholarship for KU medical students, but it wasn’t easy. In fact, when Daugherty reached out to former classmates, some would huff and tell him all he ever did was ask for money. Through perseverance and polite persistence, the effort was successful. The Class of 1960 Scholarship Fund was established in 2010 and is the largest KU School of Medicine class scholarship to date. More than 50 classmates helped raised nearly $200,000 for the fund.

“I think several people contributed just to get rid of me,” Daugherty joked.

Daugherty met his wife, Sandra, in medical school. When she died, he started a fund in the KU School of Music to honor her love of music and time singing in the KU choir as an undergraduate. Afterward, he started to brainstorm other ways he could help and decided what better way to advance his profession than to support the next generation of doctors.

“Helping future students become physicians just seems to me like the right thing to do,” Daugherty said.

Fellow Class of 1960 member Barbara Lukert, M.D., recalled her time in medical school with Daugherty as “survival mode.” She was more than happy to join in Daugherty’s mission to fund this scholarship.

“It wasn’t nearly as expensive for us in medical school as it is now, and there’s a huge need,” Lukert said. “Everything we can do to defray some of the expenses, we are eager to do.”

Lukert remembers getting assistance from Frances Hiatt in the registrar’s office while in school. She visited the office so often, Hiatt would begin pulling out loan applications as soon as Lukert entered. Hiatt was the source of information for medical students for everything from scholarships and loans to where to get the best haircut.

ALL CLASS: More than 50 members of the KU School of Medicine Class of 1960 came together to create a scholarship for future physicians.KU Medical Center archives

“She really was the mother of our class,” Daugherty said of Hiatt. Giving to the scholarship fund is Lukert’s way of carrying forward that guiding spirit to students today.

Since it was established, the Class of 1960 Scholarship has been awarded to nine students. The scholarship has helped students like John DeGraffenreid with expenses related to obtaining their degree.

“I feel honored to be supported by physicians who have carried on a legacy of giving at KU,” DeGraffenreid said. “The Class of 1960 Scholarship has provided me with additional support covering expenses associated with moving from Wichita, Kansas, to Kansas City.”

Victoria Sickinger