As the world rings in a new year, a beloved mentor and faculty member of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus has announced his retirement plans. After nearly 48 years, Jim Boulger, PhD, a Distinguished University Teaching Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health, has become a mainstay of the northern community. His academic leadership and dedication has touched countless lives, and alumni remember him fondly decades after they have graduated. 

Because of his impact and positive support, including the students he spent countless hours with to encourage their success, the James Boulger, PhD, Endowed Scholarship was established in 2010 by alumni, faculty, staff and community leaders to honor him. The discussions began with past class presidents, including Randy Card, ’91, MD, and Kristi Elliot, ’91, MD, who eventually married after having met as medical school students at the Duluth campus. Additional alumni joined the effort to create a general scholarship for alumni to support. The U of M Foundation collaborated with the alumni to send a mass mailing to class graduates from 1972 through 1988 with the hope that it would illustrate the appreciation for Dr. Boulger and everything he had done for the students. 

“The alumni of the Medical School’s Duluth campus know very well the toll that the cost of medical education has on their lives during and after school,” Dr. Boulger said. “They are acutely aware of how much all of the faculty and staff care about them and their success. In appreciation of those efforts, many have chosen to contribute to this scholarship to lessen the financial burdens and make it possible for others to continue the supportive and caring Duluth traditions.” 

As a charter faculty member and respected mentor who knew and encouraged each and every student, the scholarship was, and is, a way to thank an incredible mentor. According to one Duluth campus award recipient, “Receiving this scholarship meant not only financial stability, but more importantly, a deeper connection to the mission of the school. It is a strong motivator to continue on the pursuit to becoming a practicing physician and making sure that the investments that have been made see a return.” 

A second scholarship recipient commented, “Receiving this scholarship is an honor. It is a symbol of all the hard work and dedication I have committed to becoming a physician and is encouragement to continue moving forward.” 

The funding provides one or more scholarships annually to new students at the Medical School. Preference is given to those who begin their medical education at the Duluth campus and the renewal of past recipients. In the past decade since its inception, 96 scholarships have been awarded to 53 students, culminating a total of $254,000 in financial support.

Consider supporting future students by making a gift to a special fund honoring this year's three Duluth campus faculty retirees. If you would like to learn more about this giving opportunity, please contact Elizabeth Simonson, director of development, at or 218-391-4772.