Newmans fund scholarship

W. Harold Newman, M.D. ’56 and Ernestine Newman
W. Harold Newman, MD ’56, and Ernestine Newman

Couple aims to promote community involvement by funding scholarship

For alumnus W. Harold Newman, MD ’56, and his wife, Ernestine, seeing three of their four children through the Wake Forest School of Medicine was not enough. They wanted to make sure others had that experience as well.

“Education is so important. We know that it has real value,” Ernestine said.

In 2010, the Fayetteville, N.C., couple endowed the Newman Family Scholarship at the school with a gift of $100,000. The Newmans added to their commitment by providing an additional $100,000 gift in 2011.

The award will go to one student initially but may be expanded to include others as the fund grows over time. Preference for the scholarship award is given to students who show a desire to volunteer and give back to their community.

“We are deeply grateful for this generous commitment from the Newmans,” said Steven Block, MB, BCh, senior associate dean and professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

“In visiting with them, I was struck by their sincere dedication to service in their own lives. How fitting that this gift goes toward ensuring that the next generation of doctors practices medicine with similar compassion and commitment to community. This gift will help our school and will help worthy young men and women to become fine doctors who will provide a ‘return on the investment’ through service.”

The Newmans have four children – daughter Beth Newman, PhD, and three sons. David (MD ’80), Christopher (MD ’84) and Alexander (MD ’89) each graduated from Wake Forest’s School of Medicine.

"My training at Bowman Gray was the best," Harold says, “and since so many in our family have gone to Wake Forest, we feel a very deep connection to the medical school.”

Harold also earned his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest, in 1952, and wanted to attend medical school, then known as the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. Tuition, though, was $1,000 a year, expensive for him at the time. He worked two summers with the Merchant Marines and made exactly enough to pay for medical school.

A native of Raleigh, Harold worked as a surgeon, specializing in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, and spent most of his career in Fayetteville. He retired in 1990, leaving him more time to focus on some of his favorite pastimes: bees, music and art.

He’s a lifelong beekeeper, having learned the practice as a child. A neighbor taught him the craft and gave the young Newman his first hive. He’s been harvesting honey, which he labels “Surgeon’s Choice,” ever since; he says with a smile that he would’ve called it “Newman’s Own,” but the name was taken – by the late actor Paul Newman.

He has been known to dole out jars of the tasty treat to friends, acquaintances and even to fellow alumni at class reunions. He even had a beehive – encased in Plexiglas – in his office as a practicing surgeon.

newman scholarship fund
(From left) W. Harold Newman, MD ’56, and wife, Ernestine Newman, with Douglas Boyette, MD ’75, former president of the Wake Forest Medical Alumni Association; and Steven Block, MB, BCh, senior associate dean of the School of Medicine




 He also plays the piano and is a painter, and in 2008 painted a portrait of Howard Holt Bradshaw, MD, former chair of the Department of Surgery and one of his teachers and mentors at the School of Medicine. He presented it to the Surgical Sciences Division at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and it hangs in that department’s offices today.

Education, service and their faith are high priorities for the Newmans. Harold is a member of the board of trustees at Mars Hill College, and Ernestine, a Vanderbilt alumna, has served on the board at Meredith College.

Since 1974, Harold has taken 22 international medical mission trips to Brazil, Gaza, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand. Since 1992, the couple has made 14 trips to a Baptist hospital in Zimbabwe. While Harold served those with medical needs, Ernestine worked as a Bible teacher. That dedication to service was a major reason that Harold was honored as Mars Hill’s recipient of a 2009 North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award.

Thanks to their vision and generosity, future medical students will have the opportunity to join them in forging meaningful careers as alumni of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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Last Updated: 01-06-2014
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