Hilda Debacker, a much-admired professor emeritus of neuro-anatomy at MUSC, is honoring her late husband and supporting CofC students with the Rene and Hilda Debacker Endowed Scholarship, a legacy commitment to the College of Charleston.
A 92-year-old professor emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina who enjoyed a career powered by the brain, teaching neuro anatomy for almost 30 years, Hilda Debacker continues to crackle with sharp observations, holding forth with wry wit on life and career as well as the entwined roots of the extended family she and her late husband, Rene, established in their beloved adoptive city of Charleston. Recently, she has also focused her thoughts on supporting the College of Charleston. Honoring the wishes of her husband, who died in 1997, she announced the Rene and Hilda Debacker Endowed Scholarship, a legacy commitment to the College that provides merit-based support for students from Charleston County, S.C.
Debacker knows firsthand how scholarships can transform the lives of those students who need them: It was thanks to a Regents Scholarship, New York State’s merit-based scholarship, that enabled her to attend Cornell University. She won an additional scholarship, as well, and thus covered all of her tuition and costs. With those credentials, she was primed to continue her studies in Charleston, and eventually embark on a long and deeply rewarding teaching career there.
Many years after retiring from teaching, Debacker still enjoys frequent interactions with students from decades ago. Like the network of nerves branching out from the brain, the network the Debackers created throughout their lives continues to reach far and wide. As beloved partners, committed mentors and considerate philanthropists, the Debackers have much to teach us about family, living and giving.