MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A half million dollar endowment providing scholarships for female students enrolled at the West Virginia University School of Medicine has been made possible by the late Ruth St. John in memory of her daughter.
The Dr. Judith Buff Memorial Scholarship Fund will benefit female students who are West Virginia residents and are either the first in their families to attend an institution of higher education, descendants of West Virginia coal miners or interested in coal miners’ health.
St. John, a native of Charleston, never set foot herself on the WVU campus, but the recent resurgence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – black lung disease – as well as her late daughter’s perseverance in the medical field inspired her generosity. St. John passed away in 2011.
Judith Buff, M.D., graduated from the WVU School of Medicine in 1972. She was one of only two female students in her class, falling on the wrong side of the gender disparity in the medical profession at the time. Undeterred, after residency training at the University of Cincinnati, she began a career as a dermatologist. Dr. Buff passed away from cancer in 1999.