Scholarships rise, lifting students with them

Photo of UIC College of Nursing student, Tom McClure.
Student, Tom McClure (Springfield)

For the 2017-18 academic year, the UIC College of Nursing awarded scholarships to more students than ever before. A total of 75 top-notch students received more than $550,000 in merit- and financial aid-based scholarships. That’s a 34% increase over the prior year, due in great part to the generosity of alumni and friends.

In many cases, scholarships allow students who are juggling jobs, families and school to pursue their education with minimal disruption to the people they rely on every day for support.

“I cannot express in words how thankful I am that I was chosen for another scholarship from Memorial,” says Tom McClure, a senior at the college’s Springfield Regional Campus. McClure received support from the Memorial Health System Scholarship Fund in both his junior and senior years.  “The awards have taken a burden off of my wife and me while I’m in school. It has helped pay for my tuition and our housing. Without it, I would not have made it through even my first year of nursing school.”

McClure’s journey with UIC Nursing has been a true success story. He found his passion for emergency medicine while serving as a medic in the U.S. Army.

“Medic school made me realize how good helping someone can make you feel,” McClure says. “Actually deploying as a medic made me realize I had so much left to learn.”

After his tour of duty in northern Kuwait, McClure applied to UIC, hoping to enroll in Illinois’ best public BSN program. “Becoming a doctor was never on my radar,” he says. “I want personal, hands-on interaction with my patients, and that’s what nursing is to me.”

By Nov. 1, with graduation still six months away, McClure had already accepted a job offer from his first-choice employer: Memorial Medical Center (MMC) in Springfield. He will start his employment in the hospital’s medical ICU unit in May 2018.

“The ICU gives you low staffing ratios, with highly complex patients, so I feel it’s the best first step for me because I want to get the skills and experience to someday be a great ER nurse,” says McClure. “And after excellent experiences in clinicals at MMC, I know it will be a great place for me as a new nurse.”