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Perrises Establish New Scholarship for UCM Nurse Practitioner Program
A new scholarship established through a gift to the University of Central Missouri Foundation by an Oregon couple will be the first of its kind for the university’s nurse practitioner program.
The Rolf and Shaw Nurse Practitioner Scholarship, established by John and Merilou Perris of Albany, Ore., will help graduate students in UCM's nurse practitioner program, a master's degree program available online to students who have completed bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
The Perrises pledged a four-year, $40,000 gift to create the two $5,000 annual scholarships, with the first awards presented for use during the 2009-2010 academic year. To be eligible to apply, a student must be a graduate student in good academic standing at UCM and be pursuing a degree as a nurse practitioner through UCM’s online degree program.
Honoring Their Grandmothers
The Perrises made the gift in honor of their grandmothers, Lizzie Rolf and Mary Shaw. Merilou is a former UCM student, attending for two years from 1952 to 1954 before receiving a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1956. John is a 1953 graduate of Cornell University in New York. They contacted the university about making their gift in response to a feature they read in the Fall 2008 Today magazine. The story, “No Easy Cure,” discussed the complexities of today’s nursing shortage.
They believe that the growth in the number of nurse practitioners will help reduce health care costs in the future.
"I became aware of the needs of the nursing profession when I was hospitalized as a heart patient,” John said. “The two nurses who cared for me were nearing retirement, and they explained to me that there was a very real need to replace the number of nurses who would be leaving the profession through retirement."
Like Program's Online Feature
John also explained that he and his wife appreciated the fact that the UCM nurse practitioner graduate program could be completed online by nurses who could continue to work full time.
“We appreciate the generosity of the Perrises, who are willing to share the resources they have to provide a service to society by supporting those who choose our graduate nursing program,” said Joe Kremer, university director and chief development officer and executive director of the UCM Foundation. “Their foresight and generosity is a great example of the responses by many of our alumni in support of UCM’s academic programs.”