Personal Giving Stories

Gratitude and Achievement Prompt Estate Gift

bridge.jpgAs the fourth of six children of a factory worker and a homemaker, Tim Bridge, M.D. ’75, M.P.H. ’78, experienced firsthand how education can transform lives.

“I was from a family where going to college was unlikely,” he says. “My father worked two, sometimes three jobs to support my five brothers and sisters and me. As it turned out, all but one of us graduated from college and we all attended Illinois state schools.”

After completing his first year of medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine’s Chicago campus, Bridge transferred to the Peoria campus, finding the new college a good fit. “It was small, which suited me,” he remembers. “There were 29 people in my class. We received a lot of special attention and were on a first-name basis with our professors.”

A member of the first class to complete the last three years of medical school on the Peoria campus, Bridge became inspired to pursue work in occupational medicine during one of his medical school clerkships. While completing a residency in occupational medicine at Cook County Hospital, he also earned his Master of Public Health degree from UIC. He then joined Chevron Corp., the multinational oil company, as a staff physician and rose through the ranks, becoming global medical director in 1995.

“At Chevron, I was able to practice principles of public health to promote disease prevention,” Bridge says. He goes on to cite accomplishments including the development of the company’s employee assistance and counseling program, an international HIV prevention and treatment program with a focus in Africa, and oversight of a clinic and hospital network of more than 650 health professionals in Africa and Asia.

In gratitude for the opportunities his education has provided, Bridge has made a six-figure estate gift to endow a fund for academic merit scholarships. While the fund normally wouldn’t come to the College until his death, Bridge has been making contributions to the fund so that he can see the gift put to use in his lifetime.

“My education at the University of Illinois and the influences of the people who taught me there set me up for a very productive and rewarding career,” Bridge says. “I was blessed to start out with an excellent education that taxpayers helped fund, and I believe I have to give back.”

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