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Helping students become great doctors: Cd'A man's family has donated $14M to U of I for medical program scholarships

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | September 24, 2022 1:08 AM

A building on the University of Idaho's Moscow campus has been named the D.A. Huckabay M.D. Medical Education Building to honor a local family that has provided immense support for medical students through the years.

The Idaho WWAMI Medical Education building at 121 W. Sweetwater Ave. was dedicated during a ceremony Tuesday.

"It's obviously an honor. It wasn't expected," John Huckabay of Coeur d'Alene said Friday. "We strongly believe in the students."

The Huckabay family has established the largest endowment in the U of I’s history, named the Durward and Susan Huckabay Foundation Scholarship Endowment. The $12 million endowment will benefit Idaho residents receiving medical education at the U of I and clinical training in rural communities across Idaho as WWAMI medical students. A surprise gift of $2 million during the dedication event brings that total to $14 million.

To honor his grandfather’s legacy as a rural physician, John Huckabay has supported scholarships for more than 2,000 WWAMI medical education graduates since the 1990s.

“My grandad was the ultimate country doctor," Huckabay said.

He said his grandfather Durward's story was bleak. Duward was his siblings' caregiver after their parents' death and still graduated from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans at age 20. Upon graduating, he would go on horseback to treat patients and newly freed slaves who lived in rural areas of the Deep South.

"There was no one else to do it and nowhere for them to go," John Huckabay said.

He said the scholarship funds support at-need students.

"We’re hoping that it's a reminder that they, too, can make it," he said.

The building naming ceremony included 80 current Idaho WWAMI medical students. WWAMI is the University of Washington's School of Medicine's multi-state medical education program. The acronym stands for the states served by the UW School of Medicine: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Students must be Idaho residents to enroll in the U of I's medical school.

“The Huckabay scholarship has been a huge help to me and my family," said second-year med student Israel “Izzy” Anaya Carmona of Fruitland. "I grew up in a family where it is culturally appropriate for the parents to help pay for the children’s endeavors in education. This scholarship has alleviated some of the stress and obligation from my parents. I would like to extend the gratitude that my family and I experienced because of the Huckabay family.”

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Photo by University of Idaho Photographic Services

A building on the University of Idaho's Moscow campus has been named the D.A. Huckabay M.D. Medical Education Building to honor a Coeur d'Alene family that has provided immense support for medical students through the years. The Idaho WWAMI Medical Education building at 121 W. Sweetwater Ave. was dedicated during a ceremony Tuesday.