Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
Akeem George could hardly believe it when he got the news. When the call came letting George know that he was chosen to receive the L.D. Britt Scholarship, he was thrilled and filled with pride.
"My ears were ringing over the phone," said George, a Virginia Beach native and first-year VCU School of Medicine student. "Dr. Britt actually called me to tell me I was chosen. I called my family right after, because they have sacrificed so much to get me here."
George was selected as the Class of 2016's recipient of the Britt award, a $10,000 scholarship given to a minority student from Hampton Roads that is renewable for each of the four years of medical school. Many of the past Britt Scholars have been students at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and George is the first student from the VCU School of Medicine to be chosen by the scholarship committee.
Britt told George that he was selected because of his academic success and remarkable commitment to community service. As an undergraduate student at VCU, George was a leader in his service fraternity. He also volunteered at Richmond's Fan Free Clinic and in his hometown at the Beach Health Clinic.
Despite juggling the heavy course load of a first-year medical student, George now spends hours each week mentoring a 12-year-old boy in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond.
The Britt scholarship was particularly meaningful to George because of his respect for L.D. Britt, M.D., the scholarship's namesake, and the award's connection to his hometown.
"I am from the Hampton Roads community, and Dr. Britt is a pillar in our community. He is a role model for young men like me," George said. "I thought it was cool that he is a nationally renowned surgeon and could practice anywhere, but he chose to come back to Hampton Roads and serve the community that supported him."
George was honored by the scholarship, as well, because he said he views it as Hampton Roads' investment in his future. It's an investment he doesn't take lightly. Inspired by Britt's example and motivated by his desire to serve, George plans to return to Virginia Beach to practice medicine. He hopes to be a surgeon who makes a difference for generations to come.
"The scholarship will greatly ease the trouble and distraction of growing debt so that I can focus on my studies, my family and my community. It is a generous gift, and I am reminded that it is an investment in my future. I know that it is my role in the future to give back to my community as a physician."
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