College Receives Endowed Scholarship Funding to Support Physician Assistant Students
Campus News

Teresa and Leonard BissonnetteFranklin College has received a $100,000 gift from Drs. Leonard and Teresa Bissonnette. The Drs. Leonard L.’62 and Ma Teresa Bissonnette Endowed Scholarship for Physician Assistant Studies will provide support for student expenses related to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program at the college. 

Leonard Bissonnette is a 1962 alumnus of the college. The couple established the endowment realizing most graduate physician assistant programs do not offer scholarships, and they felt this was an opportunity to make a real difference in students’ lives.

“We are grateful this gift will alleviate some of the financial burden on our students, allowing for better focus on patient-centered care in challenging environments,” said Jasmina Cheeseman, PA-C, MLS, program director for the college’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

“Terry and I understand graduate program scholarships and financial aid can be difficult at best to secure,” said Leonard Bissonnette. “Many students already have loans from their undergraduate studies, are married and trying to juggle multiple expenses. We believe creating a student scholarship fund will make a meaningful difference for the hard-working students trying to better themselves and their families.”

“We are very grateful for the longstanding support Len and Terry have provided to the college,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “This gift reflects the student-focused nature of their philanthropy and their confidence in this successful program that positively impacts the health care needs of Indiana and the country.”

Over the years the Bissonnettes have been generous supporters of the college with multiple major gifts. Since 2006, they have funded two endowed student scholarships in pre-medicine, honoring Len’s education and their lifelong love of medicine and service to the community. The couple also made a significant gift toward launching the Franklin College Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program in 2018 and subsequently funded an endowment to support engaged learning in the sciences in 2019. The Bissonnettes strongly advocate learning opportunities such as undergraduate research, internships and conferences that help broaden student involvement beyond campus. Most recently, they supported the Franklin College Campaign for the Sciences, and the Science Center now features three areas named in their honor, the zoology and botany labs and the museum.

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at the college was made possible by a nearly $1 million grant awarded to the college in 2014 from the Lilly Endowment Inc., as part of its Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. It is the second master’s program launched by the college – the first being the Master of Science in Athletic Training in 2016.   

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

POSTED Oct 26, 2021