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Ten students receive scholarships from Simmers and Curley Trusts

May 10, 2012

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Lisle, Illinois ~ Ten students enrolled in the Nursing program at Benedictine University have been awarded scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year, said program instructor Laura Holland, R.N., M.S.N.

Nine students have been awarded Evelyn R. Simmers Scholarships totaling $40,909. The Eveyln R. Simmers Trust was established in 2009 to endow scholarships for students pursuing either a bachelor's or master's degree in Nursing from Benedictine University.

The 2012-13 scholarship recipients are: Christine Blauch Williams (Wheaton), Wendolyn Barney (Riverton), Mary Susan LaBee (Sycamore), Mayri Acevedo (Northlake), Debra Veach (Springfield), Patricia Diaz (Wheaton), Maria Torres (Oswego), Francesca Valentine (Lisle) and Ann Catherine Pebelske (Woodridge).

Prior to their deaths, Evelyn Simmers and her husband, Wallace, who owned a small manufacturing company in Chicago, were well-known for their support of hospital activities and programs. Both succumbed to cancer.

"Evelyn Simmers was a woman who truly believed in the philosophy of teaching one person and having them pass their education on to many more people," said Meagan Daniel, chief grant officer at Benedictine University. "She had a passion for education, and especially for nurses, who have the opportunity to touch so many lives each and every day."

Sorasak Choochongkol (Chicago), an R.N.-to- B.S.N. (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) completion student, received a scholarship in the amount of $1,048 from the Geri Curley Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

Curley, a school nurse, was the director of Health Care Services at Benedictine University from 1974-1990. Following her death in 1990, a scholarship was established as a memorial to her and how she impacted students' lives.

Benedictine's R.N.-to-B.S.N. completion program provides registered nurses with the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake leadership positions where they work and further their education at the graduate level. The program is offered through a partnership among Benedictine, College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Triton College in River Grove and Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The fully online Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program at Benedictine is designed to prepare registered nurses at the master's degree level for the rapidly changing face of health care. The program emphasizes interrelated academic preparation in areas of leadership, education and administration.

The scholarships will help make the programs affordable to more students during a time when there is a critical shortage of qualified health care workers.

For more information about the Nursing programs at Benedictine University, call the Admissions office at (630) 829-6300.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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