July 31, 2020
Ibtihal Makki
Ibtihal Makki thanks the Ajami family for their support.

Maria Luz Ali Ajami Memorial Scholarship Fund

Established on August 7, 2015. This Fund is in memory of Dr. Maria Luz Ali Ajami, a 2013 graduate of the College who passed away just prior to the end of her PGY2 Residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Dr. Ajami was active in Phi Delta Chi and other student organizations while at the College.

Their scholarship recipient wrote the family the following thank you letter in recognition of their generosity in FY2020. 

Dear Ajami family, 

My name is lbtihal and I am in my third year at the College of Pharmacy. I have been fortunate enough to receive the scholarship you have established at the College to memorialize your daughter- may she rest peacefully. I would like to thank you for your generosity and philanthropy.

I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan where my parents immigrated from Lebanon in the wake of war and political upheaval. When my parents recall their homeland, they do not dwell on the chaos or suffering, rather, they describe the generosity their families received from neighbors: village members would offer what little food they had and, somehow, it was always enough. Witnessing my parents retum this compassion to our neighbors, by any means they can, has underscored my definition of generosity as being rooted in kindness and selflessness. When I reflect on the values instilled during my formative years, the major themes that emerge are generosity, service, and gratitude. I chose to attend the U-M and the College specifically in order to join a community of like-minded thinkers who share the same values as me. During my time here, I have learned how service can manifest differently and the ways in which ordinary people can have profound impacts on the lives of the people around us.

I hope to utilize my career as a pharmacist to address health disparities through a public health lens while applying my clinical knowledge. As I studied individual health conditions, I took an interest in health on a broader scope and began to contextualize the challenges my parents faced in their native Lebanon, drawing parallels between them and those living in the U.S. I realized that the absence of paved roads, unreliable electricity, and lack of opportunity for upward mobility are not problems unique to the Middle East. An hour from my childhood home, faucets in Flint still supply lead-poisoned water. Fifteen minutes from my elementary school, students in Detroit have inadequate reading resources. Ten minutes from the park where I once played is the most polluted zip code in Michigan. The conditions of my surrounding community made it evident that injustice is neither temporally nor spatially remote. The circumstances creating opportunity, prosperity, and health are not rooted in luck or chance, as I had assumed for my parents, but rather are dictated by society's values as reflected in policy. Knowing I am fortunate to live in a country where avenues exist to institute change has perpetually encouraged me to utilize my platform in the advancement of serving others. I have dedicated time to student government for almost six years and worked on gubernatorial and congressional campaigns for this reason. I hope to one day utilize my future role as a clinician to impact broader policy-level advocacy efforts through health services research. Upon graduation, I will apply to fellowships that center public policy and public health and hope to begin a career of lifelong service to others.

Finally, thank you again- I will forever be grateful for your generosity and altruism.

Ibtihal Makki, Class of 2021