Memorial scholarship to help local nursing students

A new scholarship fund will assist Brownstown Central High School graduates planning to seek a four-year nursing degree.

The Brian T. Rudolph Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund was established this summer through the estate of Brian T. Rudolph. The fund will provide a renewable scholarship for a graduating senior planning to seek a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

It joins 51 other scholarship funds administered by the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

Brian Rudolph, who died in April 2016 in Seattle at age 34, was a Brownstown Central graduate. He was a recipient of the George Gossman Family Scholarship, which was created at the foundation in August 1999. Brian received the fund’s first scholarship in 2000.

Kathy Rudolph, Brian’s mother, said she and her husband, Mike, thought of honoring their son’s memory with a scholarship fund because of the impact the Gossman Scholarship had on his life.

“We really think Brian would appreciate paying this forward,” she said as the family discussed creating the fund in her son’s memory.

The Gossman Scholarship helped pay Brian’s way through Indiana University Southeast in New Albany.

So much of what the community foundation does goes back to our relationships with our donors, our grant and scholarship recipients and others in our community. In this case, the relationship between the Gossman Scholarship and the Rudolph family will benefit still more graduating seniors and their families for decades to come.

The Brian T. Rudolph Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund will make its first grant in the spring of 2019, allowing time for the gift from Brian’s estate to grow. Like the Gossman Scholarship Fund, the Rudolph Fund will be renewable, providing scholarship funds for up to four years of undergraduate studies provided the recipient remains committed to nursing.

Renewable scholarships provide a great impact on those graduating seniors who receive them. The Lumina Foundation reports that 38 percent of college students with other financial and family obligations fail to earn a degree. Much of that is attributed to financial struggles. A renewable scholarship helps ensure that there is money to help make it through those second, third and fourth years of study.

Brian Rudolph began his career as a registered nurse at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour before relocating in 2007 to Seattle. There he worked as an emergency room nurse. He was pursuing a post-graduate degree through the University of Cincinnati to become a nurse practitioner at the time of his death.

His brothers, Clint and twin Ben, shared a hope that the Brian T. Rudolph Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund will make as great a difference in the lives of other young people just as the Gossman Scholarship made a difference for Brian.

They described Brian’s life as one of service to others, first as a firefighter with the Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department and later as a nurse. His father described him as a kind and caring man, dedicated and ambitious, strong, resilient and compassionate, a young man who is greatly missed by family and friends, both here at home in Jackson County and in Seattle.

If you’d like to discuss starting your own scholarship fund or perhaps a donor advised fund, designated fund or unrestricted fund to assist the community as a whole, please contact the Foundation to learn more. The staff can help you determine how your gifts can best meet your goals.

Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, IN 47274. For information about donating to the foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to president@cfj acksoncounty.org.