UE Receives $3.6 Million Gift for Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The University of Evansville (UE) has been provided a $3.6 million gift from the John B. and Lucille S. Kelly Trust. The funds will support and grow the Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship, which assists Dunigan Family School of Nursing students who demonstrate financial need and strong academic abilities. 

After her marriage to Dr. John B. Kelly, Lucy relocated from St. Louis to Evansville. At age 42 she decided to enroll at UE for a nursing degree. In 1970, she graduated at 46. Looking back on her time at the University, she considered her four years of studies some of the most fulfilling and happiest of her life. Lucy worked as a nurse at Welborn Baptist Hospital for many years, while her husband was a urologist for Welborn Clinic. She eventually moved to a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona, where she lived until her passing at the age of 97. 

“We are tremendously grateful for the Kellys’ generosity and foresight in developing a philanthropic plan that will both make the UE Nursing degree more accessible to students and expand the pipeline of professionals in this critical need field,” said Abigail Werling, vice president for university advancement at UE.  “Mrs. Kelly was very proud of her UE degree, and today, we are proud of the Kellys’ decision to invest in the University of Evansville’s future with such a beautiful gift of scholarship.” 

Concerned about the nursing shortage and accessibility to education, Lucy established the Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship at UE. It was her hope that students in need could pursue their passion for nursing and join the field after graduation. Applicants for the scholarship must be in the top twenty percent of their class and hold a B grade average. 

UE was the first institution in the state of Indiana to receive accreditation for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Now celebrating over 60 years of continuous accreditation, the program offers a scientific and creative learning environment in which students work closely with talented, experienced faculty. UE offers direct entry into the program for eligible freshmen, meaning those who meet required standards are guaranteed a spot in the program once they deposit. Direct entry students also receive a nursing scholarship valued at $20,000 per year. 

“Nursing careers, especially in the tri-state region, are currently in high demand,” said Jerrilee Lamar, PhD, RN, CNE, the Dunigan Family School of Nursing chair. “We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift from the John B. and Lucille S. Kelly Trust, which will support nursing students for years to come.” 

Students interested in pursuing a nursing degree can apply for free at evansville.edu/apply. 

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