The Cambria County Medical Society awards scholarships to deserving medical school students as directed in the will of Dr. John Bodine Lowman (1874-1953). Please open the attachment to view the scholarship application.
Dr. Lowman was the third generation of a physician family in the Johnstown area, who graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1895. His surgical and leadership skills earned national recognition and selection as a U.S. delegate to the 1900 International Congress of Surgeons in Paris, France.
Dr. Lowman wa an army surgeon in the Spanish-American war, and in France during WWI. Domestically, he was surgeon for Bethlehem Steel Company, US Steel Company and Pennsylvania Railroad. From 1904 until 1934 he was chief of the surgical staff at Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital. Besides serving as president of the Cambria County Medical Society, Dr. Lowman was active in the Pennsylvania Medical Society as a trustee, and was treasurer for 21 years.
With uncommon generosity of spirit, Dr. Lowman included in his will a trust to assist deserving medical school students from Cambria County. When his wife, Emma, died in 1975, the trust consisted of $52,000 in investment managed by the Girard Bank Trust Department in Philadelphia.
Before the Cambria County Medical Society Scholarship Committee, formed in 1976, could dispense funds to medical students, several legal challenges tested the good intentions expressed in Dr. Lowman's will. First, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed an objection against the trust because it was written for "boy" recipients only. The discrimination against women violated Federal and State statues. The Cambria County Medical Society's President, Dr. Edward (Bud) Hill, directed the society's solicitor, Attorney Earl Glock, to petition the Cambria County Court to "reform" the trust. Not until January 14, 1980, did the amended language include "girl or girls" as well as "boy or boys" as potential scholarship recipients.
Next, in 1977 the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue demanded payment of inheritance tax on the fund assets. Again, legal counsel for the County Society petitioned the court for a ruling on whether such a large amount of the principal must be sacrificed to the state coffers. Cambria County Judge Caram Abood reviewed the claims and in May 1977 ruled that inheritance tax was not applicable to the trust fund. A challenge in the Department of Revenue resulted in a State Supreme Court hearing which upheld Judge Abood's decision, finally allowing the trust to be used as orginally inteded.
In September 1980 the first funds totaling $8,800 were disbursed to nine area medical students. Since then, the Cambria County Medical Society has awarded scholarships totaling over $282,000, averaging $13,000 yearly. Currently the funds is managed by Mellon Private Asset Management Fund with appreciation of the orginal assets to over $250,000 as of July, 2010.
The Lowman family through three generations serves as an inspring model and a challenge to all physicians to show their highest regard for their patients, their community, and their profession. The J. B. Lowman Scholarship Fund promises to memorialize the Lowman family's achievements for many generations to come.
The recipients for 2016 John B. Lowman Scholarships are:
Jonathan Partsch of Salix, second year student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College ( Thomas Jefferson Medical School)
Ryan Flick of Johnstown, second year student at The Commonwealth Medical College
Evan Spencer of Johnstown, first year student at The Commonwealth Medical College
Raissa Berry, first year student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine