Doctor’s gift enables students to pursue careers in science and medicine

A doctor who built his academic foundation at LSU Shreveport is giving back to make college more affordable for students pursuing careers in science.

Dr. Jon Cheek

Dr. Jon Cheek recently endowed the Dr. Jon Cheek College of Sciences Scholarship, creating an enduring legacy for LSUS students and continuing his years of support for LSUS. The scholarship is open to juniors majoring in biology, chemistry or physics who meet grade point average requirements and demonstrate service to the campus and community. He also funds an annual Dr. Jon Cheek College of Sciences Scholarship, an award he started in 2005.

“It doesn’t matter where they are from, people are basically the same. They want a job they enjoy, to provide for their family, and to leave the world better than how they found it,” Jon says.

His experience as a student at LSUS in the 1980s prompted him to create the scholarships.

“Before the start of my junior year, I was informed that my state-funded scholarship was being discontinued due to budget cutbacks,” he recalled. “No big tragedy (for me). I just worked a summer job to make up the shortfall, but it did make me more aware…of the political short-sightedness that state government takes. It planted the seed to fund a scholarship so that wouldn’t happen to a future student.”

Jon applied to big-name universities around the United States as he prepared to graduate from Bossier High School. LSUS was the only university that told him he qualified for what amounted to a full ride: a tuition waiver and a scholarship to help cover books and supplies.

“Staying local would save on expenses and I could graduate college with no debt,” he said. “Later, I found out how big a deal that was when talking with classmates upon medical school graduation – and how some had $100,000 debut, which was a big sum back then – and now.”

He said some of his fondest memories are from Spring Fling, Fall Fest and intramural sports. He was also a member of the Baptist Student Union. In 1986, he was part of at Louisiana Baptist State Basketball Team that toured the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe to play local teams and perform mission work.

Jon attended medical school at LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, graduating in 1991, and finished his residency in anesthesiology at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport in 1995. He practiced anesthesiology in Shreveport until 2018, when he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.

LSUS alumnus Dr. Jon Cheek pursues his passion for obstacle course racing and other outdoor activities. He says the academic foundation LSUS provided helped him succeed in medical school and beyond.

“The best career highlights were when doctors and nurses I worked with would specifically ask for me to take care of them and their family,” Jon said. “There isn’t a better honor or endorsement.”

Jon hopes other alumni will invest in LSUS.

“While LSUS is still relatively young, we should be soon reaching a point of family tradition, with successive generations graduating, and legacy philanthropy from highly successful alumni,” Jon said. “Having recently moved to a city that has those characteristics in its university, it is easy to see how that advances and benefits both the school and the community.”