Patricia Scripko ’05, Jacquie Bachand ’13 and David Scadden ’75, P’11

Dr. David Scadden ’75, P’11 once told The New York Times, “People who take care of cancer patients and also have the research dimension are people who are unsatisfied with how things are but optimistic about how they might be.” He was talking about a colleague, but he might as well have been talking about himself.

Scadden began his medical career intent on being a practicing physician, until his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He was deeply troubled by the limited tools available to help her. He wanted to change “the inevitable death sentence” cancer used to be. And he has. Today he is one of the foremost stem-cell researchers in the world, and his work influences therapies for treating cancer and AIDS patients.

Scadden, who holds a joint appointment at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, is also known for mentoring young doctors and researchers, including many Bucknell graduates and students such as Patricia Scripko ’05 and Jacquie Bachand ’13.

When asked what he looks for when he invites young researchers into his lab, Scadden says, “Grit and energy— people with passions who want to embody those passions. They don’t have to know exactly what they want to do, but they know they are going to commit themselves to it when they figure it out.”

The medical researcher who began his college career as an English major says the seeming trajectory in the lives of others is deceiving. “We can’t see the tremendous complexity of another person’s path, but a great education positions students to test and find and remake the path.”

Envisioning a different future and having the talent, drive and determination to get there is what Bucknell is about. From revolutionizing industries to running global corporations and nonprofits, from creating powerful works of fiction, film and television to students launching dozens of research and service projects that are changing lives for the better—Bucknellians work wonders.

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