Tooker Endowment to aid San Luis Valley students in health care

ALAMOSA — Dr. John Tooker, Adams State class of 1966, and Deborah Brownell have created the Mary Louise & Lester Tooker Memorial Endowment at Adams State University in honor of their parents. With preference given to San Luis Valley high school graduates, the scholarship is available to full-time sophomore students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher who are majoring in a health profession.

Tooker, who was named Adams State’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2014, is retired from teaching at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also emeritus executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Physicians, the largest medical specialty society in the United States. Brownell and another sister, Anne, are both nurses. “We thought this would be a great way to honor our parents,” Tooker said.

His father was a small businessman and his mother was librarian at the Alamosa Public Library. “Both my parents were very interested in education and avid readers. In another era, they would have been college graduates. They were very committed to the valley and to education in general, and to Adams State in particular.”

With the endowment’s focus on healthcare, Tooker and Brownell hope to encourage Valley students to become nurses, physicians, or other health care providers who, ideally, would practice in the valley.