Sunday, June 23, 2024

Turners gift $100,000 to grow LA Tech Medical Laboratory Science program

by BIZ Magazine

Rosemary “Toni” Wurster Chandler Turner, a 1964 graduate of Louisiana Tech’s Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program, and her husband, Dr. William W. Turner, Jr., longtime surgeon and educator, have gifted $100,000 to grow the University’s MLS Program in the School of Biological Sciences in Tech’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences.

Part of the gift is allocated to establish an endowed scholarship. The Turners have established two other endowed scholarships, each in the amounts of $100,000, in the past five years.

“We are very grateful to Toni and Bill for establishing an endowed scholarship for our Medical Laboratory Science degree program,” ANS Dean Dr. Gary Kennedy said. “This is the first endowed scholarship for the MLS program, and it will provide great support for our students.”

“Medical Laboratory Science graduates play important roles in providing healthcare professionals with medical laboratory test results regarding the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions,” he said. “We appreciate Dr. and Mrs. Turner’s support of this important healthcare profession.” 

From the $100,000 gift, $25,000 will be used to establish “The Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler Turner Endowed Medical Laboratory Science Scholarship Honoring Professor S. S. Kilgore.” The annual scholarship will be awarded to a senior MLS student under the program’s accreditation guidelines and other criteria created by the Turners.

Friends and former students of Professor S.S. Kilgore and his wife, Colleen, established a scholarship honoring the kind and caring couple shortly after his death in 1997. Professor Kilgore came to Tech in 1954, and he served as the Head of the Medical Technology Program when Toni was a student earning her “Med Tech” degree. During Professor Kilgore’s tenure, the program grew with the changing scope of clinical laboratory science.  Along with the help of Colleen, Professor Kilgore was able to obtain many grants that enhanced research and academics in the program. “Professor Kilgore was a great teacher and mentor, and he and Colleen were major supporters of his students,” Tony said.

The allocation of the remaining $75,000 will be designated to the “Turner (Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler & William W. Jr.) Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Fund” to promote and grow the University’s MLS Program.

Toni Chandler Turner, a Forever Loyal alumna, longtime community service enthusiast and Dallas resident, was valedictorian of her 1960 senior class at Block High School in Jonesville, Louisiana before graduating from Tech and beginning her career as a medical technologist.  An early career change led her to 34 years with Delta Airlines as a flight attendant based in Houston, New Orleans, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Atlanta, serving on both domestic and international routes.

While a Tech student, Toni was active in the Sigma Kappa Sorority and the Wesley Foundation.  She competed in the Miss Louisiana Pageant representing Catahoula Parish, and she danced in the Royal Ballet of the Natchez Pilgrimage.

She has been just as active during her post-college life as both a professional and volunteer, and her support of her alma mater has been unwavering.

In 2018, she and her husband established the “Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler Turner Health Science Endowed Scholarship in Memory of Oscar and Emeline Wurster,” Toni’s grandparents. The Wurster family now includes nearly two dozen former and future Tech students.

In 2020, the Turners established the “Rosemary “Toni” Wurster Chandler Turner and Dr. William W. Turner, Jr. Endowment” to support and grow Tech’s School of Biological Sciences and health science programs.

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