(L-R) Pat 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 Lincoln native

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[July 01, 2016]  MURRAY 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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Dan appreciates 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 process.

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 jrottinghaus@murray state.edu.

[Jennie Rottinghaus, Director of Development]

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