Ryan and his siblings Dan Ryan, the scholarship’s founder,
and the late John Ryan.
John Ryan Nursing Scholarship
established to honor Murray State University nursing alumnus and
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[July 01, 2016]
KY - The John Ryan Nursing Scholarship has been created to help
Murray State University students in Murray, Kentucky, acquire an
education in nursing. Developed by Dan Ryan, the namesake’s younger
brother and 1981 Murray State physics graduate, the scholarship will
require $25,000 for endowment.
Dan wanted to honor his brother, whose life was taken by cancer
in 2015, in a way that would have long-lasting impact. “A
scholarship will help many students in the future fulfill their
dream to complete their degree in nursing, and it will provide a
living legacy for John,” he said.
The scholarship will be
available to full-time junior or senior students at Murray State who
have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and have been admitted to the
nursing program. The School of Nursing Scholarship Committee will
choose the recipients, and preference will be given to male
students, who are underrepresented in the nursing field.
A nursing graduate himself, John Ryan received his bachelor’s degree
from Murray State in 1974. The Lincoln, Ill. native was active in
the Sigma Nu fraternity and he met his wife, Martha Vargocko Ryan,
on campus. The couple enjoyed 40 years of marriage together, during
which they had two children and six grandchildren.
John served his country in the United States Army Reserves for
twenty-one years and was part of the 933rd Forward Surgical Team. He
retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority after an extensive
career as a nurse practitioner.
Those who knew John remember his kind nature. “I worked side by side
with him while serving in the U.S. Army Reserves. John was an
extremely caring and hard-working nurse,” said Marcie Hobbs, dean of
the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Murray State. “It
was very unusual that John would say anything negative about anyone
— he always saw the positive.” John’s friend and fellow Murray State
classmate Pat Halicks was in the same Army unit as John, and they
were deployed together to Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf
War. She considered John a brotherly figure, and she was happy to
pay tribute to him through a scholarship donation.
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the imprint his brother left on people. “John’s work in the nursing
world impacted so many others, and I value the contribution he and
his comrades have made through their work serving others, a key
aspect of the nursing profession. As one of his two living siblings,
I am honored to be a small part of this effort and look forward to
meeting future scholarship recipients after we have begun the
process of awarding scholarships,” he said.
He added that he understands how hard it can be to accomplish a life goal such
as obtaining a degree. He paid for his own education and, along with his wife,
put two sons through college. “I see this scholarship as a vehicle to help
others, many who are less fortunate, achieve their own goals in the nursing
profession,” he said.
Once the endowment amount is reached, the money will be put into the Murray
State University Foundation investment pool for one year. The accrued interest
will be used to award the first scholarship. Students who meet the requirements
will be able to apply via the University’s online scholarship application
To donate, checks need to be written to the MSU Foundation (please write “John
Ryan Nursing Scholarship” in the memo line) and mail to MSU Foundation c/o 200
Heritage Hall, Murray, KY 42071. Online gifts can be made at murraystate .edu/giving.
For more information, contact Jennie Rottinghaus in the MSU Office of
Development by calling 877-282-0033 or 270-809-3406, or by emailing
[Jennie Rottinghaus, Director of