Leon L. Haley Jr. ’86 embodied the best of Brown. As a student, he was very active in campus life, from serving as a Minority Peer Counselor to helping organize ONYX, the annual ceremony that congratulates undergraduate students for successfully completing their studies. After Brown, when he found out his close friend and undergraduate college roommate was graduating from medical school the day after him, he did not hesitate to drive overnight to celebrate with him in person. And decades later in his professional life during the pandemic, Haley would walk the halls of UF Health Jacksonville—where he served as CEO—to personally vaccinate staff members.
That’s just the kind of person he was. And that’s why after his unexpected passing in 2021, a group of his classmates from Brown were compelled to honor their late friend.
“We knew we had to do something, and we knew we had to do it at Brown,” says Mohan Suntha ’86. “Brown shaped our worldview. We knew it was important to pay it forward to a place like Brown, where it would make a differential impact.”
Together, Suntha, Jeff Hines ’83 MD’86, Mark Jenkins ’84, and John C. Graves ’86 P’19 established the Leon L. Haley Jr. ’86, M.D. SPRINT Award, which provides a student with the financial support to pursue an internship or research opportunity. In honor of Haley, the award gives preference to students who are male, African American or Black, and/or low-income.
“We wanted this award to support a student who, like Leon, exhibits that sense of responsibility beyond themselves and plays a role in the Black community at Brown. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor Leon’s legacy,” says Suntha.