Gift keeps on giving: Businessman starts scholarship in wife’s honor

When it comes to special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and promotions, most husbands spend money to buy their wives something nice.

But one Seymour businessman decided to do something different to help his wife celebrate four decades of service as a nursing leader.

Instead of flowers and a card or a trip or a new car, Bob Poynter of Seymour has honored his wife, Vicki Johnson-Poynter, by donating $50,000 over the next five years to the Indiana University School of Nursing at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

The gift will establish the Vicki Johnson-Poynter Future Nurse Leader Scholarship, which will be presented annually to a junior in the traditional or accelerated nursing program.

The IU Foundation has committed to match the proceeds after each of Poynter’s $10,000 annual payments is made. If available funding exceeds the scholarship balance, the excess amount will be applied toward other nursing students.

Poynter said he hopes the donation will help others become as successful as his wife in their nursing careers, will further the college’s mission and encourage others to give to the school.

Johnson-Poynter retired from Schneck Medical Center in April 2016 as vice president and chief nursing officer. She has been a registered nurse for 40 years and holds a master’s degree in nursing from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

She worked in operating room management for 25 years and in nursing administration from 2003 until her retirement.

“She has improved the care in every community where she has worked, and I want to honor her hard work and dedication in a meaningful way,” Poynter said. “She has a passion for quality patient care, and I would like to be a part of preparing other nurses to carry on her vision.”

Although retired, Johnson-Poynter continues to teach the next generation of nurses at IUPUC.

“I feel strongly that all nurses are leaders. It is implicit in our professional role,” Johnson-Poynter said. “I hope to teach nurses how to be responsible for the quality and safety of the care they render each day through shared governance, conflict resolution and development of their leadership style.”

Dr. Beth Sharer, division head at the IU School of Nursing, said the scholarship is the perfect way to recognize Johnson-Poynter’s contributions to nursing practice and nursing education.

Johnson-Poynter hopes the scholarship brings focus to how important a nurse leader is, and not specifically to her.

“Nurses will be on the forefront to improving care within their communities,” she said. “It takes highly developed skills and organization to lead a nursing department. I hope that this award will find its way to a future chief nursing officer.”

January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.