Yarbrough scholarship will fund nontraditional Kennesaw State nursing student

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 11, 2022

Jane Yarbrough was a caregiver by nature. So, it was fitting that after raising her two children, she enrolled at Kennesaw State to study nursing.

Jane Yarbrough, portraint painted by her husband

After earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked at Piedmont Health as a registered nurse for a brief time, and then went on to a career as an occupational nurse for Delta Airlines. She passed away in 2020.

Her husband, newspaper columnist Dick Yarbrough, recently honored her memory by establishing the Jane J. Yarbrough Endowed Nursing Scholarship with an initial endowment of $50,000. The scholarship will be awarded to non-traditional students who have earned their bachelor’s degree but who are interested in pursuing nursing through KSU’s Wellstar School of Nursing.  

“My greatest achievement in life is this scholarship,” said Yarbrough, whose syndicated column reaches nearly 1 million Georgia households each week. “This is very important to me, to help the next generation of students pursue a critical profession through the inspiration of my wife, who has made this possible.”

Dick Yarbrough said Jane’s passion for nursing impressed those she cared for and worked with over the years. He said he hoped the scholarship will serve as a monument for the field she loved so much.

“Jane did not like attention much, but now she’ll get the recognition she deserves,” he said. “I felt this was the best way to honor her commitment to nursing.”

This marks the latest gift for the Wellstar School of Nursing, two years after Wellstar Health System gifted the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services $8.7 million to expand the nursing program to address the nursing shortage in Georgia and around the region.

Dick Yarbrough and Monica Swahn
Dick Yarbrough and Monica Swahn

Studies have shown that by 2030 Georgia will have one of the most profound gaps in the supply of and demand for nursing in the country, and Wellstar and KSU stand at the forefront to address this issue, said Dean Monica Swahn. 

“Kennesaw State and the Wellstar School of Nursing are in a unique position to improve health outcomes in Georgia and beyond,” Swahn said. “This impactful and transformative gift will go a long way toward making KSU a leader in addressing the upcoming nursing shortage.”

Susan Dyess, the interim director of the Wellstar School of Nursing, said the scholarship will fund KSU students advancing into an important career at a crucial time. 

“This scholarship is a boon for our program, and by extension for the region and state,” Dyess said. “This will help a deserving student to accomplish a degree and serve in an important role in our society. Dick Yarbrough’s love for this profession and our program is palpable, and we appreciate his generous support.”

– Dave Shelles
Photos by Thomas Hartwell

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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.