LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced that they have received the first ever four-year, full-ride scholarship in the College of Medicine’s 150-year history.

The scholarship was gifted by the estate of E. Lee Ronnel and is being used to create the Ronnel Family Endowed Chancellor’s Scholarship.

The scholarship is the largest gift received by the College of Medicine’s scholarship program and covers tuition, fees, housing and meals for the duration of medical school. Recipients of the scholarship will be known as Ronnel Scholars. 

“The Ronnel Family Endowed Chancellor’s Scholarship is a transformative gift that will have a profound impact on the College of Medicine,” Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health said. “We are continually humbled by the Ronnel family’s generosity toward UAMS, as this gift certainly continues the philanthropic legacy of Lee Ronnel.”

Ronnel Scholars will be Arkansas residents who exhibit high academic achievement and ultimately intend to practice medicine in Arkansas.

During a ceremony Thursday morning, UAMS announced that Edward Morris of Little Rock will be the inaugural recipient of the scholarship.

“Our family is honored to be affiliated with this new scholarship program at UAMS,” Dale Ronnel, Lee’s wife of 61 years said. “We hope this gift inspires others to help UAMS grow the number of young Arkansans receiving full-ride medical school scholarships and expand access to quality health care for everyone in our state.”  

UAMS is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health.