Stories Alumni in Action - Hugo Keim

Published on May 8th, 2014 | by SMUMN

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Alumni in Action: Hugo Keim — orthopedic surgeon, philanthropist

Dr. Hugo Keim graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a degree in biology in 1956. He went on to be the chief of spinal surgery at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City for 29 years.

During this time he witnessed the struggles of disabled young people and wanted to assist them. In 1992 Dr. Keim and his wife, Alicia, sent two students who were in wheelchairs to college. This first act of kindness started the “ChairScholars Foundation” which has over the years awarded over 640 scholarships.

In 1995, after a move to Florida, the Keims realized the need for a program such as this and teamed with “Take Stock in Children.” This connection made education accessible to other students by awarding them full scholarships to either vocational or four-year universities through the Florida university system. The “ChairScholars Foundation” extends beyond providing financial support for students, who are chosen for scholarship in middle school and are nurtured throughout high school and into college.

After college the graduates continue to be connected with supporters and allies, ensuring that self-determination decides success and barriers to success can be removed. Dr. Keim believes no physical impairment should deter a motivated mind.

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