KSU and Wellstar Health System announce exclusive
$5 million endowment for honors nursing students

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 2, 2021

Kennesaw State University and Wellstar Health System announce the establishment of the Wellstar-Tom and Betty Phillips Elite Honors Nursing Scholarship, a new $5 million endowment that will create an opportunity for highly qualified undergraduate students to gain acceptance into the Wellstar School of Nursing as early as their freshman years.

This exclusive scholarship is a joint venture between Kennesaw State’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services, KSU Journey Honors College, Wellstar Health System, the KSU Foundation, and KSU supporter and Emeritus member of the Wellstar Board of Trustees Tom Phillips. The multi-million-dollar gift also includes matching funds from a $10 million donation to the University’s Honors College from Rosemary and John Brown, which the University received in January 2020.

This is the latest initiative to bolster nursing education at KSU. A little less than a year ago, Wellstar gifted nearly $9 million to the University’s Wellstar School of Nursing to expand its program to help address the state’s nursing shortage.

This exciting alliance will allow KSU to continue to attract the best and brightest students to assume the mantle of tomorrow’s elite nursing professionals,” said KSU President Pamela Whitten. “We are grateful for our remarkable partner Wellstar Health System and for the vision of donors like Tom Phillips who helped make this unique program a reality." 

This competitive scholarship will support a cohort of 25 students each year, admitted fully into KSU’s Honors College as freshmen, and conditionally into the nursing program. Students who maintain their standing as an honors student and who meet all minimum criteria for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing will be automatically admitted into the nursing program. Currently, prospective nursing students enter KSU as pre-nursing students and, if accepted, are admitted as juniors.

“We are thankful for our long-term partnership with Kennesaw State University and for the generosity of our friends, Tom Phillips, Wellstar Emeritus Trustee, and his late wife Betty,” said Candice L. Saunders, president and CEO of Wellstar Health System. “The Wellstar-Tom and Betty Phillips Elite Honors Nursing Scholarship is a meaningful investment in the future of nursing and will help nursing students obtain world-class nursing education and training while pursuing their calling.”

Phillips and his late wife Betty established the Tom and Betty Phillips Endowed Scholarship in 2009 to benefit both graduate and undergraduate students in KSU’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services.

"I strongly believe in the mission of Wellstar Health System and Kennesaw State University, and am extremely pleased and gratified to have the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious nursing initiative as the two premier organizations continue their work to make a positive impact on our communities,” said Phillips.

Kennesaw State and Wellstar have been collaborating for more than 40 years, formalizing their partnership in 2003 when the University added the Wellstar moniker to its College of Health and Human Services and School of Nursing in recognition of an agreement that strengthened the relationship between Georgia’s second-largest university and one of the top producers of nurses in the state. In 2019, the National Institutes of Health awarded KSU and Wellstar a grant to jointly address the bioethical issues faced by individuals experiencing social and/or economic hardships when trying to manage their healthcare needs.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.