Legacy of late surgeon lives on at URI

KINGSTON, R.I. — June 18, 1999 — A man who worked hard to get ahead, and who thought having to sweat for it made success all the sweeter, made bequests to the University of Rhode Island that now total almost $3 million. J. Louis Jack, who graduated from URI in 1915, went on to become a successful surgeon. Although he was born in New York City and lived for years in North Haven, Conn., his heart remained in Kingston. During his lifetime, he established two endowment funds at URI to honor the memory of his late wife and brother, who he credited for his success. After he passed away in 1996, additional funds were added to both endowments. The endowments have been growing steadily over the years and now total $2.95 million. “These endowments ensure that Dr. Jack’s legacy will live on at the University,” said URI Director of Planned Giving Jack Buckley. “We are extremely grateful for his generosity and the support he provided to his alma mater.” Both endowments are loan funds. The Dr. Gabriel F. Jack Fund, and the Gladys E. Jack Fund are available to “any qualified URI students having financial need and with good scholastic standing.” While recipients are expected to pay off the loans, the interest rate is at half the prevailing commercial rate. “I don’t believe in giving scholarships outright,” Dr. Jack said when he established the first two funds. “I believe in helping people when they need the funds to carry on. It should be a loan because then the purpose of the fund is perpetuated.” “Dr. Jack,” as he preferred to be called, believed in the value of hard work. He attended what was then Rhode Island State College from 1911 – 1915. Although tuition was free at the time, he worked odd jobs around campus for 15 cents an hour. “I think we are put on earth to work,” he said. He went on to graduate from Yale Medical School in 1923. He interned at Bellevue and Staten Island Hospitals in New York, then became a surgeon at Grace New Haven Hospital. He retired in 1950. An accomplished artist as well as a surgeon, Dr. Jack painted “Young Men in Green,” which depicted surgeons operating and was published by Time magazine in 1948. Dr. Jack was the first recipient of URI’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990. Two years later, as the University celebrated its centennial and Dr. Jack celebrated his 100th birthday, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. For more information: Ann MacDonald, 874-2116