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Bruce and Janet Mortensen

Bruce Mortensen, PA, Class of ’14, and his wife, Janet, recently endowed a gift to Baylor College of Medicine to establish an annual award to help defray the cost of graduate school for a first-year student in the Physician Assistant Program. Presented by their nonprofit, the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation, the recipients are committed to community service and embody what Mr. Mortensen refers to as a “looking-outside-yourself attitude.” Recipients are nominated by their fellow first-year peers and selected by faculty members.

The Mortensens launched the Foundation in December 2008 in memory of their daughter.

“In 2008, our daughter was diagnosed with colon cancer and she passed away about six months after she was diagnosed, 11 months after she was married,” Mr. Mortensen says.

Four years later, at age 60, he decided to enroll at Baylor to make more of a difference in the lives of patients and their families. A lifetime of experience working in the healthcare industry provided him with the skills and resources necessary for success.

However, the deep connections he forged at the College proved one of the most valuable parts of his time in the program. The generosity displayed by Mr. Mortensen’s classmates inspired the decision to launch the endowment program this year.

“The PA class that I was a part of started a benefit run for the Foundation,” he said. “It got us thinking about how to give back to Baylor as well as providing for at least one student a little bit of relief from the high cost of graduate medical education.”

Mr. Mortensen hopes that the Foundation’s emphasis on rewarding a community-oriented spirit will influence more students to act as leaders in service.

“Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in a position as a healthcare provider get fulfillment from that every day,” he says.  

“For me, giving helps me stay grounded.”