College of Nursing celebrates donors, scholarship recipients

Like many East Carolina University College of Nursing graduate students, Tikia Yelverton works full-time in addition to taking courses. So when Yelverton, a nurse at the Vidant Medical Center Ambulatory Surgery Unit, earned a scholarship, it made it that much easier to continue her studies.

“It meant a little bit of the financial burden lifted,” said Yelverton, who is expected to graduate from the doctor of nursing practice program in 2018.

Yelverton was one of 93 students who received $283,350 in scholarship support from the College of Nursing for this academic year. The college honored this year’s awardees — along with the donors who made their scholarships possible — at a Sept. 30 event held at Rock Springs Center. The merit and need-based awards range from $500 to $6,500 and were open to undergraduate and graduate nursing students through a competitive application process.

Speaking at the event, Dean Sylvia Brown highlighted the College of Nursing’s 56-year tradition of excellence in education, research and practice. The college prepares students who pass licensure and certification exams at rates well above the national average. In order to continue this legacy, Brown said, the college must enable students to focus on their educational goals and worry less about financial constraints.

Dean Sylvia Brown, Tikia Yelverton, and Laura Lloyd (contributed photo)

Dean Sylvia Brown, Tikia Yelverton, and Laura Lloyd (contributed photo)

“Your gifts enable many of our students to pursue their dreams of becoming nurses or continuing their education in nursing,” she said.

Many of the scholarships given were created to honor individuals who have or had exceptional dedication to the field of nursing. The event represented a unique opportunity for donors and the students who benefit from their generosity to meet and learn about each other.

Donors like Hal Pierce, who consistently attends the annual ceremony, said it’s a way to stay connected with the college and honor a loved one. He established the Hal and Eldean Pierce Beta Nu Scholarship in memory of his late wife, former ECU faculty member and alumna Eldean Pierce.

“I always enjoy meeting the person that gets it,” he said. “I like knowing what their goals are, what direction they’re going in.”

–Elizabeth Willy