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Planned Giving

‘An Empowering Thing’: A Blended Gift Enables Jennifer Schell ’87 to Endow Scholarship

Doctor bag, diploma and clarinet

Photo taken by Elayna Vyas

While Jennifer Schell ’87 has stayed connected with her alma mater and given to Kalamazoo College annually, she had never envisioned herself being able to endow a scholarship until she learned about blended gifts in a conversation with one of the College’s development officers.

Through a $25,000 donation given over five years, and a $75,000 commitment to Kalamazoo College in her estate plan, Jennifer is establishing the Jennifer L. Schell, D.O. ’87 Endowed Scholarship to support students pursuing the sciences and participating in music while at K.

“I always wanted to give in a meaningful way,” Jennifer said. “The idea of a blended gift was really fascinating to me—the option to give now at a level that’s comfortable and be able to see some impact during my lifetime, and then have the gift completed upon my death. It was an empowering thing to be able to do.”

The scholarship gives first preference to a student who majors in the sciences and participates in music, and second preference to a science major who participates in the arts in some way.

Exploring both passions was key to staying balanced for Jennifer, a health sciences major. As a student, she played the clarinet in the Wind Ensemble Orchestra and the Woodwind Quintet, took lessons from Evelyn Angerman, taught lessons to young clarinetists and completed her Senior Integrated Project with a clarinet recital.

“The arts and music are one way I continued to connect with my humanity, express emotion and relate to feelings,” Jennifer said. “You can get so caught up in the intellectual or scientific piece. Art, and specifically music, is such a different way to connect with people. It’s important for people not to lose that side of themselves as they’re pursuing a scientific path.”

At K, Jennifer completed her career development internship at the chemistry research division of the Kellogg Company and studied abroad in Strasbourg, France.

“It was fabulous,” she said. “There were quite a few of us in the sciences who took our MCAT for the first time about three weeks after we arrived in France. We had to take a train from Strasbourg and find a place to stay in Paris while still figuring out the language. I remember sitting down to take the test and I could look out the window and see the Eiffel Tower.”

Jennifer appreciated how the K-Plan integrates study abroad into the curriculum, as well as the opportunities for involvement that come with a small, liberal arts school.

“The overall approach to lifelong learning and openness to exploring other cultures and other people—I want someone to be able to experience all of that if they choose,” Jennifer said. “K gives you the opportunity to be involved in things that you enjoy, to think, take responsibility, become engaged, and pursue the things that you love. I spent a lot of time doing music even though I was never going to be a music major. I had the opportunity to do personally fulfilling activities while still pursuing classes that would lead to a career for me.” Through her blended gift she hopes to create similar learning experiences for future K students.

Jennifer earned her Doctor of Osteopathy degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. After 25 years as a practicing pediatrician and serving as chairperson of the department of pediatrics, she transitioned full time to Munson Healthcare as a physician advisor. During that transition, as at so many other times, Jennifer leaned on the lessons of the liberal arts at K.

“I completely switched career paths. After 25 years taking care of kids, I took this job as a liaison between the clinical and administrative sides of medicine in an adult hospital,” Jennifer said. “K gives you the experiences when you are young—to go into a foreign country where you can’t speak the language, or to go into a company as a sophomore in college and do research—that teach you the skills to figure things out.”

“Kalamazoo College helps you see that you can do anything.”

For more information about blended gifts and planned giving at Kalamazoo College, contact Andy Miller at 269.337.7327 or

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