A new endowed scholarship will provide opportunities for future Troy University students from Pike County who want to earn a nursing degree.
The Betty Floyd Vance Endowed Nursing Scholarship was established by Stewart and Piper Vance to honor the memory of Stewart’s mother, who passed away in October.
After her husband’s death in 1974, Betty Vance, the mother of two sons, enrolled at then Troy State University, earned her nursing degree and launched a long and successful nursing career. It was that commitment to her family and her passion for and impact on the nursing profession that led Stewart and Piper to the decision that a scholarship would be an excellent way to continue her legacy.
“At my mom’s funeral, so many nurses that I didn’t even know came up to me and said that my mom was such a positive influence on their lives and careers,” Stewart said. “We found that nursing touched so many lives that maybe more people needed to have that opportunity. We decided we would set up this scholarship to help those who wanted to go to nursing school but may not have all the resources to do so.”
After graduation, Betty worked as a surgical and emergency room nurse for several years before being named the Director of Nursing for what was then Edge Regional Medical Center in Troy. She completed her nursing career as a school nurse in the Pike County School System. Her passion to the field was evident throughout her career, as she served as a member of Southeast Alabama Council of Nurses, the Pike County Nurses Association, the Alabama State Nurses Association, the Alabama Hospital Association’s Professional Standards and Quality Assurance Committee, and the Alabama Organization of Nurse Executives, among others.
“She loved her degree and her profession,” Stewart said. “Looking back, it gave her the drive and confidence to do things in her life, in her community and in her church and to mentor people that she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to mentor had she not gone to nursing school, started a career and been successful in that career. That enabled her to touch so many lives, not only in Troy but everywhere she went. So many people don’t know what scholarships are available or if they qualify; I think this is just a meaningful opportunity to fill a void like that for someone that may have the drive but needs a little help. I think it would certainly make my mom happy.”
The Vances have four daughters, one of whom followed in her grandmother’s footsteps in earning a nursing degree and entering the profession as a nurse practitioner in Birmingham. And, for the Vance family, Troy is a special place, which made helping TROY students and those from Pike County an easy decision.
“I grew up in Troy and my mom did as well,” Stewart said. “Troy is special to me and my family. My brother went to school here. My dad had been in education and taught at Pike County High School. We just have a strong lineage in Pike County and thought this scholarship was a great opportunity to remember my mom and help others from a place that has always been so special to my family.”
Piper said the family first discussed the possibility of establishing the scholarship for those, who like Betty, were single mothers or mothers going back to school to further their education, but decided, in the end, to “not make the scholarship too overly restrictive” to ensure that it could have a greater impact for future students.
As such, the scholarship will assist students majoring in nursing on the Troy Campus, and recipients must be a student from Pike County in need of financial assistance who will or are pursuing a nursing degree and have and maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.
“It clearly can change somebody’s life,” Stewart said of the opportunity to attend nursing school. “Nursing is one of those professions that you know what you are going to do when you finish school. There are people waiting to hire you, and you will always be employable. You can do it anywhere. It is a great way to start out on life, a great door-opener for people who may not have had those opportunities in the past and can help them to create opportunities for themselves the rest of their lives.”
For more information on establishing a scholarship at Troy University, please contact the Office of Development at (334) 670-3297.
Recipients will be selected by the Troy University Scholarship Committee and will be required to write a letter of appreciation to the donor and are encouraged to attend the Scholarship Donor and Recipient Reception. Scholarships will be awarded for one year only beginning in the Fall semester, but recipients may reapply the following year.