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Sending Good into the World

By Lauren Seidman and Nancy Shohet West

Shep Brock has never lived in the Upper Valley, but his family has roots here. His grandparents Gertrude and Robert Mertens had a home in Woodstock, Vermont, and supported the expansion of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in 1947. Then, in 1966, his grandfather received outstanding treatment at Mary Hitchcock following a serious car accident. That inspired the first of many family donations to Dartmouth's medical school.

"Our relationship with the Dartmouth medical community started with my grandparents, and then Mom and Dad got involved," Shep says. "My parents made philanthropy a core value of our family."

Shep's parents, Peter and Jennifer Brock, regularly added to the scholarship fund established by the Mertens, which is now the largest scholarship fund at Geisel. They've also made significant contributions to scientific research and global outreach programs at the medical school, as well as numerous major gifts to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

"My parents taught us that part of being a member of any community is that you give back to it," says Shep.

When Peter died in February 2019, Shep and his siblings "wanted to capitalize on the momentum he'd created and steer it in a direction of recognizing him." He explains, "My dad was the driving force in our family for many things but he never took credit for it. I would have loved to see him get more recognition while he was alive but am glad to see his legacy continue to inspire others."

The Peter R. Brock Leadership Scholars Endowment will provide need-based financial support to international students attending Geisel. Shep's brothers Steve and Jeff have contributed generously to the fund and gifts from other donors are welcome.

"Our parents were very committed to their local community but they felt that the larger challenges abroad in the world should be addressed as well," notes Shep. "Of great concern are the huge disparities of well-being around the globe. By choosing to fund scholarships for international students, we're helping to create opportunities people may not otherwise have."

Shep was also inspired to give to scholarships because of the experiences his parents had with the Geisel medical students they'd met through their own support.

"My mom wrote letters to the students who benefited from the Mertens scholarship and it was really gratifying for her. And my parents were so moved by the Match Day ceremonies they'd attended that they'd come home in tears," Shep says. "Funding scholarships can form connections that multiply. I really like thinking of philanthropy in that waysending good out into the world more broadly."

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Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College