A surprise donation by an Indiana University of Pennsylvania alumnus may help set forward health care in the state.
The IUP Distinguished Alumni Awards is supposed to be an evening for the university to take note of the paths its successful students have carved for themselves, honoring distinctions in their various fields. Richard Caruso is one such alumnus, an accounting specialist who attended IUP in the early 1980s.
Caruso says he owes much of his success to the education and network he gained at IUP.
“I think it gave me the fundamentals of accounting, a good business background to build upon,” said Caruso.
But when he was called up to be honored for that success, Caruso took the moment to announce that he would be giving back to his alma mater, and to more than that.
Caruso’s surprise donation of $1 million will help the university establish a new school of osteopathic medicine. His hope is that it will help establish a new generation of doctors to be placed in rural areas, where the doctor shortage of keenly felt.
He realized the acute need last year, when his 101-year-old mother could not be put in touch with a specialist to help treat her nerve pain, despite being admitted to a hospital for it.
“During that two-week period, she never saw a live doctor. She only saw doctors through telemedicine. So it was a wonderful group of nurses and hospital employees who helped her through the process. The doctors were all through telemedicine,” said Caruso.
IUP has leapt on the surprise donation, and is already making plans for the new school. They are looking for a founding dean, and the first classes are being planned out, according to a university spokesperson.