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Becker Family Donates $178K to UTGSM

From left to right: Laura Miller, Michael Becker and Janet Becker Hardin

The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine (UTGSM) recently received a generous donation from the estate of Patricia Becker, a former resident of Knoxville who passed away on March 14, 2022. Patricia Becker’s nephew, Michael Becker, informed the UTGSM that his aunt had chosen to leave a portion of her estate to the UTGSM for research purposes. The gift amount totaled $178,087.91, and her heirs, Michael Becker, Janet Becker Hardin, and Laura Miller, requested that at least 50% of the gift be used to support the Women in Science initiative, with the remainder supporting the Physical Activity and Metabolism Laboratory (PAM) at the UTGSM.

Patricia Becker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the Women's College of UNC in 1952, but upon graduation, she was not offered a job commensurate with her degree. As a result, she returned to college to earn a Master of Science degree in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill in 1957. She went on to work in several libraries and published bibliographies, including one that covered the then-new field of laser technology. Once her husband, Stanley Becker, was hired as a Mechanical Engineering professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Patricia Becker chose to support him and his work and enjoy her hobbies. She was always very appreciative of the excellent care both she and Stanley received from the UT medical system and thus chose to donate a portion of her estate to UTGSM.

In a letter to UTGSM, Michael Becker stated on behalf of Patricia’s heirs, "We are confident that Pat's gift will be useful in supporting your research activities in a way that will properly honor her legacy."

The impact of this donation will be significant, according to Robert M. Craft, MD, Interim Dean of the UTGSM. "This generous gift will help ensure that the steep upward trajectory of the PAM lab will be maintained, and that the Women in Science initiative has the resources to continue making a positive impact on the careers of women within the UTGSM."

The Women in Science initiative at the UTGSM aims to support and encourage women pursuing careers in science and medicine. The initiative provides mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to help women overcome the unique challenges they may face in these fields.

The PAM Laboratory, housed within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, operations are overseen by Jill M. Maples, PhD. The PAM laboratory’s broad mission is to improve the lives of women and infants in East Tennessee, and beyond, through scientific investigation and research.

Many of Patricia’s relatives recently visited the UTGSM to see firsthand the impact of her gift. The family was impressed with the research being conducted and excited that their aunt’s legacy will continue to support important work in women’s health and scientific research.

Posted: May 1, 2023


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