Special to the OBSERVER
A longtime local surgeon is now helping others to pursue the medical profession.
The Dr. Raja S. Gopalan Registered Nursing Scholarship was formally established with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF) during Dr. Gopalan's recent retirement party at Shorewood Country Club.
Dr. Gopalan (right) presents check to NCCF Executive Director Diane Hannum.
Gopalan has generously endowed the scholarship for employees of Brooks Memorial and Lake Shore Hospitals who desire to earn their registered nursing degrees. Family members of employees are also eligible to apply.
The first scholarship will be awarded in 2012. Those interested in applying must complete an application form, write an essay and submit two letters of recommendation. Recipients will be selected based on their motivation, work ethic and financial need. Those intending to continue their careers at Brooks Memorial or Lake Shore Hospital will receive priority. For complete information on the scholarship, including a copy of the application, visit www.nccfoundation.org or contact the Human Resources Department at either of the hospitals.
Gopalan retired on June 1 of this year, after a career spanning more than 40 years. As a highly respected surgeon, he was the first to practice new surgical procedures, including the staple technique, endoscopic surgery and the insertion of pacemakers. He used shunts for vascular surgery earlier than others in the field. His skill as a surgeon is evidenced by the fact that he never faced a malpractice suit, which is unusual in particular for a surgeon.
"Dr. Gopalan's clinical skill, compassion, and generous spirit have left a lasting and positive impression on every life that he has touched during his 40-plus years of practice," states Jonathan Lawrence, CEO of the Lake Erie Regional Health System. "His example serves as equal inspiration to those of us who aspire to be better health professionals and to those of us who aspire to be better human beings."
A modest man, Gopalan, fondly referred to as "Dr. Gopi" by many, is well liked and highly respected by doctors, patients and hospital staff.
"Dr. Gopalan is kind considerate man, has a great sense of humor and truly loved his profession and career," Sallie Piazza said. "He has a practical approach, loved teaching and was a wonderful mentor."
Since retirement, Gopalan has been focusing on his hobbies, in particular golf, tennis and reading. He and his wife Sandy have two daughters and five grandchildren.
The NCCF was incorporated in 1986 as a tax-exempt charitable organization. The Community Foundation holds over 340 separate endowment funds to benefit the community, of these 168 are scholarship funds. Since its establishment, the NCCF has distributed more than $8.3 million in the community through its various grant programs. It is an organization inherently committed to enriching the northern Chautauqua community and encouraging local philanthropy. For more information, visit www.nccfoundation.org or call 366-4892.