A travel fund for students (Fall, 2012)

November 07, 2012
A stone from every state – Denise Cline’s memories result in a travel fund for students
Mildred Smith

Mildred Smith
Denise Cline

Denise Cline
Donald Smith

Donald Smith
Denise Cline’s father had a unique idea. “My father’s goal,” she says, “was to gather a rock from every state and use them eventually to build a fountain.”
The memory stands out when she is asked about the yearly pilgrimages her family took westward. “My parents had five children,” Cline says. “Every summer they packed us in a car, and we took ‘Steinbeck trips’ out west.”
The trips are the cornerstone for Cline’s inspiration to create a new travel fund at UNC. Named in memory of her parents, the Donald N. and Mildred K. Smith Public Health Travel Fund provides support for any undergraduate or graduate student at the School to travel in conjunction with practice, research, service or conference presentations.
More importantly for Cline, establishing the fund allowed her to honor her parents’ values. “My parents were able to make their lives better through education, and this type of gift seemed a perfect convergence of health care, education and travel,” she says.
The value of health care is especially meaningful to Cline, as her mother suffered from a debilitating illness which was never diagnosed. Through all her ordeals, Cline’s mom still maintained a positive spirit that inspired everyone who met her.
It inspired Cline as well. “I hope my gift allows students an opportunity to share their ideas with others and to gain experience abroad,” she says.
– Branson Moore

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Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.