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The McCuskey Challenge

Dr. John M. McCuskey Jr. (M ’60) often found himself pondering the past during his 50-year career as a physician specializing in internal medicine and psychosomatic disease. Now retired and considering his ties to Tulane University, the history buff’s attention has shifted to the future.

“The past is good,” he says, “but the future is better.”

For McCuskey, the gift is also personal. Though more than five decades have passed since his graduation, he remains strongly tied to Tulane and New Orleans.

“John worked really hard at Tulane. He loved how closely the professors worked with the students, how they were true mentors to himself and his classmates,” says Sarah McCuskey. “And he loved the combination of rigorous, intellectual learning taking place in such an interesting and stimulating city. We were both raised in the Midwest, so I know New Orleans was quite a change for him. Tulane allowed John to see the world in different ways and opened him up to a number of possibilities.”

From San Francisco to New Orleans

After serving in Europe, McCuskey met Sarah Jane Thorkilson on a tennis court in San Francisco. He was a fellow at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, where he treated patients whose psychological problems compounded their illnesses. Sarah, a Michigan State University alumna, was completing a master’s degree in nursing and studying to become a pediatric nurse practitioner at the University of California, San Francisco.

The McCuskeys married in December 1971 and later had two children, Matthew and Heather. As they put down roots in the City by the Bay, McCuskey says he continued carrying a torch for the Crescent City. Today, McCuskey admits to bouts of “homesickness” while watching HBO’s "Treme."

While New Orleans helped shape his life, McCuskey’s Tulane education catapulted him into a prosperous career as a practicing physician. The McCuskeys say they want to give back to a place that provided them so much.

“I want my story to motivate others,” says Dr. McCuskey.

For more information about how to contribute to the McCuskey Challenge click here.

Mary Jane Deere Wiman BrintonMary Jane Deere Wiman Brinton

Mary Jane Deere Wiman Brinton made a $1.9 million gift to the Tulane University Community Health Centers, to help provide primary care to low-income members of the community and hands-on experience for physicians and others who are training to work in healthcare careers. In addition, part of the Brinton gift will help develop a model, replicable community health and nutrition education program. READ MORE >>

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