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Freeman-Gayles Memorial Scholarship

Welcome to Freeman-Gayles Memorial Scholarship

Memorializing Mom and Dad

Losing a parent is heartbreaking. Losing two within eight weeks is devastating. When Diane Devita, M ’96, lost her parents when she was in her second year of medical school, other schools may have required her to take the semester off, but faculty at the School of Medicine allowed her to study from home and take her exams when she returned. It is in this spirit of compassion that she and her sister, Lynette Freeman, are endowing a scholarship as a tribute to their parents who, with no formal education of their own, instilled in their children the power to endure and the ability to set a goal and achieve it.

“I always wanted to be in medicine,” Devita remembers. “I decided to go to medical school while I was an emergency room nurse in the Army. I worked with a doctor I truly admired who had attended MCV and that's where I decided to go. When I visited the campus and stood in the Egyptian Building, I knew it was my dream school.”

Devita's parents for whom the
Freeman-Gayles Memorial
Scholarship is named

With a strong academic record, Devita attended VCU on an Army scholarship and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. “My parents barely had grade school educations and yet there was never a time I doubted my college future. I was allowed to speak my parents’ names at the honor society induction ceremony and I decided I wanted their names spoken by others. It took me 17 years to put my money where my heart was. I want their name to mean something to someone who is also setting a goal, enduring a hardship and who plans to spend their life in service of others.”

Devita and her sister are appreciative of the financial assistance they received as students and hope the Freeman-Gayles Memorial Scholarship makes it easier for others.

“Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are important to all students,” Freeman says. “No one who enjoys any level of success can make the claim they did it alone. In keeping with the law of cause and effect, good causes result in good effects. Not only for me, but for those I encounter, directly or indirectly. Any effort I make may mean an immeasurable benefit to someone else.”

The sisters — two of seven children — encourage others to follow their example of scholarship contributions. “Do it. Don't wait like I did,” Devita said. “We've all been there. Pay it forward.”