Lubbock Christian University
Gary and Pat Step

LCU Establishes Health Professions Institute

Lubbock Christian University’s (LCU) B. Ward Lane College of Professional Studies is announcing the creation of the new Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professions. The new institute will be unveiled at a dinner to celebrate students who have been accepted into graduate programs in the health professions on March 31.

The Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professions will support current students who plan to further their education in the health professions after graduating from LCU. The institute will provide scholarships for current and incoming students, fund research fellowship opportunities, contribute to travel for students visiting and engaging with professional programs across Texas, and enhance healthcare shadowing and mentoring programs, among other strategic initiatives of the Office of Health Professions.

The lead gift to establish the Estep Institute was provided by 2004 LCU graduate Dr. Cary Chisholm and his wife, Leann.

“Leann and I are thrilled to be able to partner with Lubbock Christian University in the creation of the Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professionals,” stated Dr. Chisholm. “The Pre-Health Professions education at LCU is phenomenal. It is our hope that the Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professions will provide even more opportunities and additional tools to help students excel, positioning them as the most qualified applicants for graduate or professional school.” 

A key differentiator for the LCU College of Professional Studies is the personal mentoring and coaching from the faculty in each of the pre-professional health programs. It was this hands-on experience with Christian faculty mentors that inspired Dr. Chisholm to establish the Estep Institute.

“I was fortunate to have Dr. Estep as my advisor, as well as professor in many classes. Beyond his sheer brilliance and extensive breadth of knowledge, he was tireless in giving advice, calming in times of stress, and encouraging on difficult days. He was a selfless educator who wanted nothing more than to see each of his students achieve every goal they had set for their life and career,” Chisholm shared.

Dr. Gary Estep joined the LCU faculty in 1971 and served the university for 42 years until his retirement in 2013. Dr. Estep’s quiet leadership, engaging teaching, and insightful direction benefitted LCU through the years as he served in the roles of dean of the B. Ward Lane College of Professional Studies, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, professor of biology, and advisor for the Pre-Health Professions Club.

“We are honored to have this important initiative named for us,” offered Dr. Gary Estep. “LCU has a great tradition of successfully preparing students for service in the health professions, and now with this new institute, the dedicated faculty who pour themselves into our gifted students will have access to even greater resources to equip our students for futures in the health professions.”

The institute will provide more opportunities for faculty to create experiential learning opportunities for students so that they are even better prepared for the challenges of dynamic and ever-changing technological advancements in all areas of health care. The institute will also assist faculty in helping students to understand that learning is a lifestyle that goes beyond graduation and into a lifetime of purpose and service.

Dr. Chisholm shared, “Dr. Estep modeled Christ in every interaction I had with him. I consider him my first professional mentor, and he is a role model for me and my career. I can think of no better people to name this institute after than Dr. Estep and his wife, Pat, whose love and support enabled Dr. Estep to pour himself into his students.” 

Dr. Chisholm is a part of the LCU legacy and tradition of academic excellence in the health professions resulting in acceptance rates for LCU students far above the national average. At the dinner announcing the Estep Institute for Health Professions, students who have recently been accepted into graduate programs in the health professions will be honored.

While complete data for the current year is still being collected, the 10-year average of acceptance rates for LCU students in the health professional schools are all above the national average:

  • Veterinary School – 74% acceptance rate (nearly 7 times the national average)
  • Dental School – 61% acceptance rate (15% above the national average)
  • Physical Therapy School – 84% acceptance rate (38% above the national average)
  • Occupational Therapy School – 75% acceptance (70% above the national average)
  • Physician Assistant – 84% acceptance rate (two and ½ times the national average)

“The investment by Dr. Cary and Leann Chisholm in our pre-health professions students is significant,” commented Dr. Toby Rogers, dean of the B. Ward Lane College of Professional Studies. “It will enhance the opportunities and resources available for our students’ critical growth and development, and it will foster new initiatives for student engagement that will help students meet the current demands of the healthcare landscape.”

Rogers added, “I hope other healthcare professionals, particularly our alumni, are inspired by the Chisholms to give to the Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professions and to partner with the Office of Health Professions as we serve these students, who are the next generation of healthcare professionals.”

Tickets for the Health Professions Celebration Dinner at 6:30 pm on March 31 are still available. Learn more about and contribute to the Gary and Pat Estep Institute for Health Professions.