$5,000 scholarships will be awarded annually to three students, one from each doctoral program offered at PCOM Georgia.
Merging their faith with their passion for medicine and education, Gwinnett County philanthropists, entrepreneurs and business owners Clyde and Sandra Strickland recently established an endowed doctoral scholarship fund at PCOM Georgia. Through the fund, $5,000 scholarships will be awarded annually to three students, one from each doctoral program on the Suwanee campus, to include those earning degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy.
North Carolina natives, the Stricklands have been residents of Gwinnett since 1969. With a belief in caring for their community, the couple will provide the yearly scholarships to PCOM Georgia students who are graduates of Gwinnett County Public Schools. “We want to help our neighbors here,” Sandra said. “We can’t help everybody around the world and in other states, but we can surely do something right here in our own community.”
PCOM Georgia joins a group of Gwinnett County organizations that the couple supports including Annandale Village, Central Gwinnett High School, Georgia Gwinnett College, Gwinnett Technical College, Home of Hope, the Hope Clinic, Junior Achievement, Northside Hospital Gwinnett, the Partnership Against Domestic Violence and Rainbow Village.
Clyde Strickland’s interest in medicine began when he served in the US Army’s 24th medical battalion stationed in Germany. “I’ve always been fascinated with medicine and how it works,” he said, although he admits to not seeing a doctor until an emergency room visit at age 18. Clyde was raised in Selma, North Carolina, the son of a sharecropper. His family refrained from formal medical treatment and cared for ailments at home.
The Stricklands have been long-time supporters of Northside Hospital Gwinnett (formerly Gwinnett Medical Center) where Sandra is a member of the Women’s Advisory Council. Clyde serves on the Board of Directors for the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation. They provided funding to build the hospital’s chapel, spearheaded a capital campaign for the Strickland Heart Center, funded the Sandra J. Strickland Diagnostic Center, and helped build the Strickland Family Medicine Center, a teaching facility for Northside Hospital Gwinnett’s family medicine residency program.
Calling himself a “research guy,” Clyde noted that as he’s formed relationships with physicians, he’s realized how much debt students undertake in order to earn a healthcare degree. “We want to help them reduce the debt so that they can spend more time not only being a doctor, but being with their families,” he said.
He explained that medicine has been important to their family. “Medicine has been a big part of Sandra’s and my life. At 28, we should have been gone.” He believes, “If you try hard and put God first and medicine second, He’ll keep you here a long time.”
Sandra has battled cancer since 1973 and Clyde has endured 20 operations and been declared disabled twice, once falling off a seven story building at a hospital emergency room, and several years later being involved in a car accident. “Every time adversity comes, I always work through it,” he said. With five knee operations, three knee replacements, gum implants, intraocular lens for visual correction, and a rotator cuff replacement, he said, “I’m a bionic man,” and noted proudly that on most days he can still shoot his age (81) at golf!
In a fitting turn of events, Clyde credits land on Old Peachtree Road, the corridor where PCOM Georgia is located, with helping the couple start the business, Metro Waterproofing, Inc., which has provided the funding for the Strickland’s philanthropic efforts. “We were able to get a second mortgage on our house to start the business with equity that God gave us through the land,” he shared.
The Stricklands, who have been married for 57 years, believe that love is the greatest word - in the dictionary and in the Bible. They quipped that their three children, all graduates of Central Gwinnett High School, are concerned about them giving all of their money away. Sandra said with a smile, “Every one of them has a basement that we could live in!
Following their visit, the couple, known for their gifts of time, talent and treasure, donned their masks – one from Central Gwinnett High School and one from the Partnership Against Domestic Violence - as they left campus each with a backpack full of logo-adorned items from PCOM Georgia. Senior Director of Development Alisa Toney said, “It’s so good to have the backing of Gwinnett County residents Clyde and Sandra Strickland as our students learn to treat and heal patients.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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