Fritz and Julie (Twohy) Clarke have longstanding relationships with Washington State University and Spokane’s University District. Their connections inspired them to create a scholarship fund that supports the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine charter class.
The Clarkes’ generous donation helps underwrite the cost of medical school for incoming students. The average U.S. medical school graduate incurs debt approaching $170,000 before even beginning a career, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
By relieving student debt, the Owen F. and Julia K. Clarke, Jr. Family Endowed Scholarship in Medicine will play a critical role in supporting recruitment of the most qualified and compassionate students for the charter class.
“Training new physicians from within our state is a significant way to improve health care access for all Washingtonians,” said Fritz. “We have always understood the value of education. When we had the chance to invest in medical student scholarships at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, we were all in.”
The Clarkes raised their family in the Spokane area. Fritz, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston University of Law, served as senior assistant attorney general and chief of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General in Spokane.
Julie is a 1965 graduate of the WSU Honors College. Many members of her family are proud WSU alumni. In 1987 she founded Clarke and Stone Book Company, a medical/technical bookstore in Spokane. For nearly two decades, the store served nursing and allied health students, medical residents, and professionals in architecture, engineering, and the construction trades.
“Through our business, we understand the positive impact that increasing medical education opportunities will have not only in Spokane, but across the state of Washington” —Julie Clarke
The Clarkes envision the new medical school playing a transformative role in the City of Spokane.
“The new medical school is the final piece in making Spokane a regional hub for providing quality medical education and advancing health care,” said Fritz. “We are proud to help bolster the vision WSU President Emeritus Elson S. Floyd had for a community-based medical school that trains physicians to serve underserved areas of the state.
The Clarkes also see their donation as a way to give back to the city they called home for over 30 years.
“We raised our family here,” said Julie. “We are immensely grateful to the Spokane community for all it has provided to us.”
The Clarkes moved to Portland, Oregon in 2015 to be nearer to their children and grandchildren.