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Oct. 18, 2012 Volume 34, No. 9

MU School of Medicine receives $1.3 million gift for research

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GIFT Dean P. Hainsworth, the George L. and Melna A. Bolm Distinguished Faculty Scholar in Ophthalmology, spoke at the gift announcement. Nicholas Benner photo


The Bolms hoped research could advance health care

Although the late George and Melna Bolm neither graduated from MU nor received medical treatment at University Hospital, they have given the university over the years  estate gifts and cash of more than $1.3 million to fight diabetes, heart disease and macular degeneration — problems they struggled with. 

Chancellor Brady J. Deaton announced the gift at an Oct. 11 event in the Reynolds Alumni Center Great Room.

George died in 2000. The next year, Melna donated $550,000 for a professorship in cardiovascular health. 

When Melna died in 2011, the Bolm estate gave MU $800,000. The money elevated a professorship in cardiovascular health to a chair and endowed a faculty scholar position in ophthalmology.

Melna Landwehr was born in 1918 and attended Central Wesleyan College before marrying George Bolm in 1941. The Bolms established their first home on George’s farm near Truesdale, Mo., where George worked as a rural letter carrier. 

While George served his country overseas in World War II, Melna worked for the Rationing Board. She was an active member of the College United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school classes for many years. She also served at the election polls for more than 40 years and was honored by Secretary of State Roy Blunt for her service.

At the announcement, Chancellor Brady J. Deaton said, “Melna knew that the only hope for progress in treatment and cures for these diseases is the kind of research that goes on at top-tier research universities. 

“She committed to the idea of turning money into miracles.”