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A lasting legacy

In 1917, Lester R. Mylander, DO, graduated from ATSU-KCOM with a dream and a purpose. He couldn’t wait to begin serving others as a physician. At the time, however, Dr. Mylander was turned away from several hospitals in his native Ohio due to his osteopathic, rather than allopathic, education.

George Mylander created a foundation and scholarship to honor his father and ATSU alumnus, Lester Mylander, DO, 1917 (pictured). Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, Missouri [1917 Osteoblast 2]

Instead of becoming discouraged, Dr. Mylander worked alongside his fellow DOs to create a new hospital where osteopathic and allopathic physicians could work alongside one another to provide top-notch medical care in his community. After years of hard work, his dream was realized. Today, the Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio, serves as a physical testament to Dr. Mylander’s passion for service.

Dr. Mylander quickly became a prominent and well-respected man in Sandusky. Growing up, his son, George Mylander, witnessed the profound impact his father had on those in need and recognized the importance of osteopathic medicine in his life.

To honor his father’s lifetime of service to others, George began donating regularly to the University. As an educator, he knew the importance of keeping high-quality education affordable. To that end, he created the Lester R. Mylander Endowed Financial Award.

This award provides annual financial assistance to an ATSU-KCOM student, with preference going to students coming from the Mylanders’ home state of Ohio. Because the award is endowed, its impact will be felt for years to come.

“It’s a tremendous legacy when you can honor and memorialize somebody, but at the same time leave an impact that lives on in perpetuity,” says Bob Behnen, MBA, associate vice president, university advancement.

In 1987, to further honor his parents, George created the Mylander Foundation, an organization that provides financial support to organizations cherished by his mother and father. For years, the Mylander Foundation has given generously to Dr. Mylander’s alma mater, providing funding to ATSU’s areas of greatest need.

Despite not attending medical school personally, ATSU recognized George’s contributions to osteopathic medicine with honorary membership in the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) and awarded him the KOAA Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He is a lifetime Still Society Member.

George passed away in 2016 but ensured ATSU would continue to receive significant, unrestricted gifts from the Mylander Foundation for years to come.

“Philanthropy is different for everybody,” says Behnen. “Everybody has a different reason, and we’re all at different times in our lives. It may be that all we can do is a nice small annual donation. That means a lot and makes a big difference.”

Visit the University Advancement website, giving.atsu.edu, to learn more about how you may contribute financially to ATSU and make an impact on future medical students.

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