LRU News

Lenoir-Rhyne University Nursing Program Receives $150,000 from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc, for Student Scholarships

Wed Mar 5 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University was recently awarded a grant of $150,000 for nursing scholarships from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. This gift includes an increase of $20,000 over last year’s grant amount of $130,000. According to the award letter, the Foundation is pleased to increase awards to those institutions that demonstrate their ability to attract, retain, and graduate female students with financial need.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. is a charity dedicated to the support of women in nine southeastern states, primarily for scholarship grants to deserving female students. Lenoir-Rhyne University has received this support for many years and uses it to provide nursing student scholarships for needy and deserving students.

The grant is named for Lettie Pate Whitehead who along with her husband, Joseph Whitehead, helped to bottle Coca-Cola throughout the United States beginning in 1899. Mr. Whitehead died in 1906 and Lettie Pate Whitehead assumed leadership of the family’s business affairs, which prospered significantly. She was one of the first women to serve on the board of directors of a major American corporation, serving as director of the Coca-Cola Company for almost twenty years beginning in 1934. She established the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation just prior to her death in 1953.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s School of Nursing is well known for its high pass rate on the North Carolina Nursing Board examination, and has graduated 1,229 students with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Nursing, since 1960. Currently 300 students are enrolled in the undergraduate nursing degree program and 29 students are enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing program that began in 2012.

Most recently, Lenoir-Rhyne School of Nursing has been a Member of the NC Future of Nursing Action Coalition Taskforce, and has created the Hickory Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program. This provides collaboration between Lenoir-Rhyne School of Nursing and five community colleges in the region wherein students are dually enrolled to improve the transition to the baccalaureate level, resulting in more graduates and better training.

Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Drew Van Horn expressed appreciation, stating “thanks to the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc., the future of Lenoir-Rhyne nursing students needing financial assistance is filled with hope and the promise of fulfilling careers in the nursing profession.”

School of Nursing Chair, Dr. Kerry Thompson, echoed similar thoughts, proclaiming “it is remarkable that during challenging economic conditions, Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. has increased their support of our Nursing student scholarships. We are extremely grateful and honored to enjoy such a wonderful partnership that makes it possible for deserving students to earn their nursing degree.”

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