In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Rice Emergency Medical Services announced the establishment of the Rice University EMS endowment, which will benefit one outstanding graduating REMS senior pursuing further medical education, according to REMS Director Lisa Basgall.

REMS hosted a gala to raise funds to permanently establish the endowment on Oct. 23, bringing together alumni, students and contributing community partners. Each ticket cost $175, and a full table of 10 seats cost $1,500, with all proceeds going toward the endowment fund.

The goal of the gala was to double the initial $25,000 given by REMS founder and former medical director Mark Escott (Jones ’96) as a parting gift as he left the position this fall.

“My wife and I have been inspired by the hard work we have seen in these young men and women over the years, in the students who give up their free time year-round in dedication and service to others in the Rice University community,” Escott said. “We felt it was time to create a new vision, one that gives back to those who give so much.”

Twenty years ago, REMS consisted of 23 students, faculty and staff who were certified to respond to on-campus emergencies. Last year, the organization consisted of 51 undergraduate volunteers alone and answered 637 emergency calls.

Will Rice College freshman Smeet Madhani is currently training to joins REMS in the basic Emergency Medical Technician course.

“The fact that REMS is in its 20th year and now has an endowment is a testament to how far it has come and how much it has developed in its 20 years at Rice,” Madhani said. “It’s grown from being an organization one student started to something that now has such a large presence on campus.”

REMS was originally founded with the purpose of addressing lengthy response times for emergency services to campus and shortened response times to on campus emergencies to an average of two minutes within the first year of its operation.

“REMS has come a long way in 20 years,” REMS Captain Will Letchinger said. “Some changes are more visible, such as upgrades in our equipment. Other changes are administrative in nature, with a rapid expansion in our membership, leadership and education team.”

Letchinger, a Sid Richardson College senior, said the changed allowed REMS to offer more CPR courses, cover more events and expand its AED program, which now has 46 AEDs on campus.

Through the program, students can now join and receive medical field experience.

“EMS is an incredible opportunity to get involved on campus,” Letchinger said. “Few organizations give students the chance to be so involved in their campus community while also learning critical skills.”

In particular, Letchinger said members benefit from early exposure to the medical field and access to physicians and medical students.

According to Letchinger, in the future, REMS hopes to expand membership and continue growing education programs and resources across campus. Cameron Decker, REMS medical director, said the organization will continue to excel in coming years.

“The next 20 years will see Rice EMS continue to provide its members with opportunities students can’t get anywhere else on campus: an excellent medical education, the ability to work as a community toward a noble mission and an unparalleled leadership experience,” Decker said.

This article was edited to correct the headline, which originally referred to the anniversary as the 50th rather than the 20th.