December 14, 2009 - Harrogate, Tennessee – Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) has been awarded the Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureship Series by the Colby Foundation. LMU-DCOM is one of four medical schools in the country to hold this prestigious lectureship.

Colby Cassani’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 14 months. Though his time was brief, his legacy is far-reaching in the gift of life he brought to others through the donation of his organs. And the legacy will continue to touch lives through the work of a foundation founded by his parents Starla and John Cassani. The Colby Foundation promotes awareness for organ donation.

“It truly is an honor to receive this endowment from the Colby Foundation,” said Director of Foundations Martha Scheidler. “The gift of organ and tissue donation is a selfless and thoughtful gift that has a significant impact on individuals and families. I believe this lectureship series will raise the level of understanding and awareness of organ and tissue donation to the region that LMU serves and will bring a high level of prestige and national recognition to LMU-DCOM.”

The Colby Foundation offers an Endowed Lectureship Series to fund organ and tissue donation curricula for qualifying schools of medicine. The series offers a perpetual endowment, a model program which addresses scientific, personal, logistical, ethical, moral and legal considerations, a base of speakers that can provide personal and professional information regarding organ and tissue donation, written and web-based educational materials and ongoing support and technical assistance to ensure program quality.

“I am excited about the Colby award and look forward to helping develop stimulating programs within the LMU community and interacting with the public,” said LMU-DCOM Professor and Chair of Anatomy Neal Cross. “The availability of organs for transplants far exceeds the need all across the United States. This educational award will allow LMU to educate society about these needs.”

To qualify schools commit a minimum of a half-day seminar focused on organ and tissue donation information in both the academic and clinical years of a student’s medical training. The seminar should include a scientific, medical or research professional specializing in organ and tissue donation or transplantation; an organ procurement organization professional to speak about the state requirements regarding organ and tissue donation; and a donor family speaker or recipient speaker that share a personal journey about organ and tissue donation. The goal of the lectureship series is to emphasize the facts about organ and tissue donation and the role that physicians and future physicians have in educating the public.

The first LMU-DCOM Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureship Series will be held in 2010. The lectureship marks the first funding secured by the newly appointed Director of Foundations, Martha Scheidler.

“It is a pleasure to have Martha as LMU Director of Foundations and a part of the University Advancement team,” said Vice President for University Advancement Cindy Whitt. “Martha brings a wealth of fundraising experience to LMU with her CFRE credentials and knows how to select the best team to undertake a foundation project. I compliment her on her success in bringing the prestigious Colby Foundation into the LMU circle of influence.”

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at


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