McKendree receives $750k gift for new endowed nursing scholarships

A $750,000 gift to endow new scholarships offered by the McKendree University Division of Nursing will enable many more students to earn their degrees, advance their careers, and develop skills to improve community health at a crucial time.

“The impact of the COVID-19 virus has dramatically reinforced the need for a health care workforce skilled in community nursing,” said Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, nursing division chair. “The Division of Nursing is honored and thrilled to have received a $750,000 donation from Nancye Doros to celebrate the memory of her daughter, Diana Joyce Doros. Because of Mrs. Doros’ generosity, we will be able to provide $5,000 scholarships to nurses practicing in the field of population health.”

The $5,000 Diana Joyce Doros Endowed Scholarship will be available each year to qualified nurses who do not receive tuition reimbursement from their employers. Applicants may include nurses working in critical access hospitals, public health departments, primary care provider practices, schools and parishes, home health agencies and hospices.

The new scholarship was made possible by the generosity of a forward-thinking donor, the late Nancye Doros of Oceanside, Calif. During her annual visits to the area, Mrs. Doros became familiar with McKendree University in Lebanon through a local family friend who serves on the Board of Trustees. “She visited the campus, enjoyed events at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, and recognized the quality and value of a McKendree education,” said President Daniel Dobbins.

Doros made a $750,000 gift in memory of her daughter Diana, remembering the nurses who helped and cared for Diana, who had cancer before she passed away in 1994.

“Mrs. Doros knew the potential and lasting impact her gift would have on health outcomes in communities at the local, state and national levels,” said Dobbins.

Scholarship applications will be accepted until July 15 for the fall 2021 semester, which begins in August. For information about applying to the McKendree nursing program, visit www.mckendree.edu/bsn or www.mckendree.edu/msn; or call Carol Fairlie, student services specialist, at (618) 537-6507.

To be eligible for the Doros Scholarship, a student must be initiating a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program in population health.

Few MSN programs in the nation offer a population health track, noted Rennegarbe. McKendree’s unique program addresses a shifting health care focus on community and personal well-being. With an emphasis on rural and underserved areas—often areas of greater hardship and health disparities—it provides students with real, relevant experiences to influence improved, sustainable health and wellness. The curriculum incorporates best evidence and practices; experiential learning; and strong collaborative partnerships with local, state and national resources and supporting organizations. These include public health departments, critical access hospitals, the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), and the Illinois Academic/Public Health Partnership.

“What a wonderful opportunity for nurses serving our rural hospitals in Illinois,” said Pat Schou, ICAHN executive director. “Rarely are there education funds to help student nurses and those nurses seeking advanced degrees so they can work in their rural communities. McKendree University has been a good partner to rural hospitals and educating many of the nurses in our rural hospitals today. McKendree has a highly regarded nursing program, and this new nursing scholarship program represents the school’s commitment and dedication to nursing and rural healthcare.”

As a graduate of McKendree’s nursing program, Melinda Albers, MSN, RN, PEL/CN, understands firsthand the value and opportunities the Doros Scholarship will offer future students. “The BSN program at McKendree provided me with knowledge in leadership, management and evidence-based practice. This knowledge was instrumental in assisting me to successfully operate the health office in my new position as a school nurse,” said Albers, who is employed by West Washington County District 10 in Okawville. “I’m grateful I was able to complete the program by paying for it by myself, but it was not without some sacrifice. A scholarship would have been extremely helpful for me and my growing family at that time.”

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