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Lovelass establishes nursing scholarship

Meredith Lovelass

Like many baby boomers, Meredith (Kendall) Lovelass ’73 has gone from one long-term career to another, extending her talents from the nursing arena to apartment management.

Lovelass received her degree in nursing from Mennonite College of Nursing and went to work in the Intensive Care Unit at Mennonite Hospital and then in the Medical/Surgical Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bloomington, followed by jobs as an office nurse for a dermatologist, assistant director in a nursing home and operating room nurse.  She helped open the first free-standing surgery center in Lancaster, Pa., prior to taking a job as a certified case manager for Core Source, which she said drew on all of her 22 years of medical experience.

After returning to Illinois in 1995 when husband, Tom, took a job as an attorney with State Farm Insurance Company, Lovelass started Meredith’s Apartment Management, Inc., which she terms a family business.  “At one time or another, all four of our children have provided services for the business that has apartment buildings serving Illinois State University students and a number of commercial properties,” Lovelass said.

Lovelass might be pursuing her second career, but she remains committed to the “most satisfying and rewarding profession” of nursing.  That commitment enabled her to establish the Meredith Lovelass Scholarship for Mennonite College students and to present, with her daughter, Kate, a program on Marfans Syndrome for students and faculty at Mennonite.

To say that Meredith and her family are invested in Illinois State and the lab schools would be an understatement.  To date, her mother, brother, sister, husband, two children and son-in-law have all either attended U High, Illinois State or both, and they still remain involved and committed to their alma maters.

Lovelass’ mother, Audrey Kendall ’69, MSE ’72, chose to attend Illinois State after the death of her husband, pursuing two degrees in art while raising six children.  Kendall enrolled three of her children, Tom ’71, MA ’73, Jeanne and Meredith in University High School, at that time directed by Harry Lovelass, who would later become Meredith’s father-in-law. Furthering the familial, educational connection, as Tom waited for his mother to finish classes in the art building, he discovered an interest in ceramics and also earned two degrees in art from Illinois State. Tom is a successful artist, and he, too, is giving back by creating a piece in ceramic mosaic, bronze and copper with the U High crest in the center to adorn the school.

Lovelass met her husband, Tom, at University High, marrying him in 1978.  Lovelass is mother to Audra, Kate, John and Stefanie.  John, a ’99 U High alum, is a commercial realtor.  Stefanie, also a ’99 U High alum, is pursuing her Ph.D. at Illinois State in linguistics.  Kate is a high school teacher and Audra, who is married to yet another U High and Illinois State alum, has two children and another due in July.

Tom and Meredith continue their philanthropic endeavors through support of the Centrillio Council of Girl Scouts and as ambassadors for U High fund-raising efforts.  Meredith is a member of the P.E.O., (Philanthropic Educational Organization), which supports the education of women through scholarships, loans and their own Cottey Junior College.

“I received a wonderful education at Mennonite,” Lovelass said.  “Through the Meredith Lovelass Scholarship, I want to ensure that other students have the same opportunity I did to pursue a rewarding career in nursing.  It’s a field that calls for highly educated and skillful professionals, and I think Mennonite is doing a great job of educating their students to succeed in today’s medical profession, just as they did when I pursued my education.”