By Wendy Sarubbi | January 23, 2012 4:38 pm

Family Creates Nancy Lee Burnett Graduate Fellowship for Burnett School


The children of longtime UCF supporters Al and Nancy Lee Burnett have donated $28,000 for a graduate fellowship at the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences to honor the memory of their mother.

The fellowship took on even deeper meaning when the family presented Al Burnett with a gold-embossed, leather binder proclaiming “Nancy L. Burnett Graduate Fellowship” at Christmas.

“My siblings and I wanted to give our father something this year that would reflect the connection we feel as a family,” said Becky Moore, one of the couple’s four children.

Moore said the idea for a binder sprang from a Christmas gift of a vacation her father gave her mother several years ago. With the help of a travel agent, Mr. Burnett created a preview of the trip for his wife’s review on Christmas morning — a binder featuring pictures of hotels where they would stay and places they would visit.

The College of Medicine binder was designed with the help of Charles Roberts, assistant vice president for development, and Lorraine Scholler, assistant director of development. It is divided into four sections that focus on news and updates from the Burnett school’s research focus areas: cancer, cardiovascular, infectious and neurodegenerative disease.  The binder also includes a certificate commemorating the fellowship and a letter from Dr. Deborah German, vice president of medical affairs and dean of the UCF College of Medicine.

Moore and her siblings – Amy Gravina, Melinda Steele and Bruce Burnett – agreed that the research fellowship would help attract the brightest students to the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.

“After losing a parent to a disease like lung cancer, it seems so special to have a small role in assisting the next generation of scientists in their search for a medical breakthrough in their particular field of study,” she said.

Nancy Burnett, who died in September, and her husband have donated $15.5 million over more than 30 years to support UCF students and programs. In addition to the College of Medicine’s Burnett School, the Burnett Honors College and the president’s on-campus home are also named in their honor.

In 2004, when the Burnetts made their $10 million donation to create a new college of biomedical sciences, Al Burnett called the gift “a necessary step if we’re going to head in the direction of a full-fledged medical school, which is what I hope we can accomplish in the next five, 10 or 15 years.”

“The opportunity to have a graduate research fellowship that bears the name of Nancy Burnett, someone who loved learning and discovery, is an honor for the College of Medicine,” said Roberts.  “We will be forever grateful to the Burnett family for their pioneering role in the early years of our college.”

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