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University of Missouri

Altruistic Giving

A couple with no formal connections to MU gives $1.3 million for medical research.

man at podium

George and Melna Bolm, native and lifelong residents of Warren County, Mo., have given estate gifts of more than $1.3 million to the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Through her generous gifts, Melna, who passed away in 2011, wanted to memorialize her late husband George, who passed away in 2000, as well as support important medical research. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Although the late George and Melna Bolm neither graduated from MU nor received medical treatment at University Hospital, they have given the university $1.3 million to fight diabetes, heart disease and macular degeneration — problems they faced. George, a postal worker and farmer, had diabetes and heart disease, suffered several strokes and died in 2000. The next year, Melna donated $550,000 for a professorship in cardiovascular health. Melna, a teacher, had macular degeneration. She looked to MU once again to help others with this problem. When she died in 2011, the Bolm estate gave MU $800,000. That money elevated the professorship to a chair and endowed a faculty scholar position in ophthalmology. “Melna knew that the only hope for progress in treatment and cures for these diseases is the kind of research that goes on at top-tier research universities,” Chancellor Brady J. Deaton said at the gift announcement Oct. 11, 2012. “She committed to the idea of turning money into miracles.”