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TUSM Scholarship Part of a Humanitarian Legacy

Donor supports TUSM through unique philanthropic initiative

Matt Bell is making a difference in an unconventional way. The day trader based in Dallas, Texas, is donating $100,000 in scholarship funds to 50 medical schools around the country, including Tufts University School of Medicine.

Bell was inspired to make a significant contribution to higher education after hearing the “last lecture” delivered by Randy Pausch. A professor at Bell’s alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, Pausch delivered his address after learning he had pancreatic cancer. His lecture focused on realizing childhood dreams and enabling the dreams of others. This message, and a biography of John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, got Bell thinking about how he too could support the dreams of others. “I realized that to create a humanitarian legacy, you’ve got to find the right way to help. It has to be personal and it has to be a program you identify with,” he says.

Though not formally trained in medicine, Bell was drawn to the field for its academic rigor and commitment to helping others. “Medical schools were the purest way I could focus on humanity and helping people have a better quality of life,” he says.

Tufts appealed to Bell for the quality of its medical school and the university’s interest in open communication with donors. He has included a gift in his estate plans that will establish the Matthew G. Bell Scholarship when it is received.

Bell believes his unconventional approach to philanthropy—giving to dozens of schools rather than just one—is worth the extra effort. “Donating to 50 schools definitely takes more time but it’s also more logical,” he says. “By supporting many institutions, you increase your chances of being part of a breakthrough that advances the field of medicine.”

Bell has personal relationships with faculty at many of the schools he has supported, which helps him stay up to date with the latest research. His particular interest is the intersection of research on cancer and genetics and how future treatments might be tailored to a patient’s genes. “The universities know I’m interested in the research process,” he says, “and they let me know what’s going on in the medical field.”