Donor Extends Legacy of Giving with KSU’s School of Nursing

Judith Pishnery, Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, June 12th, 2024

Kennesaw State University’s Wellstar School of Nursing has announced that Dick Yarbrough, the longtime syndicated newspaper columnist and public relations executive, has established two endowments, totaling $400,000, in honor of his late wife, Jane.

Yarbrough dedicated a scholarship endowment in 2022 in the name of his wife to support career-changing, non-traditional students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition to funding two more endowments for non-traditional nursing students, part of Yarbrough’s latest gift will also support faculty to advance nursing education and research at KSU.

Jane Yarbrough enrolled in Kennesaw State’s nursing program while her two children were in college. After earning her degree, she worked at Piedmont Hospital 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.

Since her passing, Yarbrough has sought to keep his wife’s memory alive through gifts to the program that embraced a 42-year-old college student with “life experience,” as he called it.

I wanted to do something to pay homage to my wife for what she accomplished,” Yarbrough said. “What better way than in the field of nursing that she loved and what better place than at Kennesaw State? It was meant to be. Her name will be associated with this program for years to come. That’s my goal—to honor my wife, to help the nursing profession, and to hope that out of this comes something that will positively impact people in the future.”

Monica Swahn, dean of the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services and the Dr. Betty L. Siegel Distinguished Chair in Health and Wellness, said Yarbrough continues to be a champion for nursing and research in the Wellstar School of Nursing.

“Once again, we have Dick Yarbrough to thank for expanding not just the practice but the study of nursing in the Wellstar School of Nursing,” Swahn said. “The scholarships will help career-changing students on their paths to the profession, and the other endowment will assist our faculty as they elevate their research in service of nursing.”

Susan Dyess, the Thomas M. and Elizabeth D. Holder Endowed Chair of the nursing school, expressed her gratitude for Yarbrough’s support. She said Yarbrough has boosted a sometimes-overlooked aspect of nursing education in non-traditional students and now has bestowed his largesse on faculty development.

“To address the coming shortage of nurses, we need not only the best nursing graduates but also the best faculty,” Dyess said. “Mr. Yarbrough’s gift will give a faculty member each year the support they need to develop professionally and conduct critical and relevant research in nursing.”