Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Men barred from new Viterbo University med school scholarship


Estate funds female-only scholarship

Male students are prohibited from applying for a new scholarship meant to help Viterbo University’s aspiring doctors.

“A $1.267 million gift from the estate of alumna Dr. Joan Gennrich has been used to create a scholarship for a female Viterbo University student who will attend medical school,” the Catholic university in La Crosse, Wisconsin announced recently.

“The Dr. Joan Gennrich ’60 Endowed Medical School Scholarship could provide up to $50,000 to recipients over the course of their senior year at Viterbo and four years of medical school,” the university announced. “The scholarship will be awarded to one qualified student each year beginning in the fall of 2024.”

Gennrich appears to have made the gift through her will or other directive, as the university quotes her saying she made the gift, “in appreciation of [the] excellent education I received at Viterbo University and to encourage female college students to pursue a medical degree and join a profession I loved and valued.” She is deceased.

The university did not respond to multiple inquiries on Monday and Tuesday about the legality of the program. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, though there are exceptions.

The College Fix emailed Josh Gates, the listed press contact, for comment on Monday. The Fix asked if a university attorney had reviewed the program for legal compliance. The Fix emailed again and left a voicemail on Tuesday morning for Gates, the assistant vice president of leadership gifts.

The Fix then called the communications office on Tuesday morning. A staffer directed The Fix to email assistant communications director Anthony Slaby for comment. He did not respond to the email.

A higher education expert with the Heritage Foundation said the university should be careful to follow Title IX – or even better, avoid establishing “discriminatory” programs altogether.

The scholarship would have to be used as part of a “pool and match scheme,” Adam Kissel told The Fix on a phone interview Tuesday. “Pool and match” means the university would have to fund an equal scholarship for male students, Kissel said.

“But a university should not accept money for discriminatory purposes in the first place,” the visiting fellow in higher education reform at the conservative think tank said.

‘Real shot in the arm’ for aspiring female doctors, official says

Gates, the university administrator, provided further comments to other media outlets, underscoring only females are allowed to apply.

“We’re progressing for our future students,” Gates told WEAU. “It’s great as we go around and recruit students to our campus to be able to offer something like this to females that know they want to go into the medical field.”

“This is just a real shot in the arm for any female that wants to know they want to be a physician or an M.D.,” Gates said.

“And it’s a real shot in the arm for the school because it puts us on the map,” the administrator said.

This is not the first time the school has suggested females are at a disadvantage.

The university previously hosted a panel on not only white privilege, but “male privilege,” as well.

The school has other scholarships that are not open to all races or both sexes.

Applicants for the “Sister Thea Bowman Scholarship” “[m]ust be African American,” a scholarship page states.

The university also offers the “Xcel Energy Scholarship for Women in Science” a $875 per year scholarship for “accomplished women who intend to study science at Viterbo University.”

Kissel identified several other scholarships that discriminate on the basis of sex or race.

The school is 76 percent female and only 24 percent male according to its fall 2023 data.

Editor’s note: The article has been updated with more scholarships.

MORE: Viterbo gives ‘full support’ to nun who talked about ‘curtailing’ pro-life group


Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.