Eric Tapley was recruited to Illinois State University from Harper High School on the south side of Chicago to play football. He was a three-year starter and graduated in 1983 with a degree in physical education. He later pursued a second degree at Mennonite School of Nursing (now Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State) and received his bachelor’s of science in nursing in 1997.

Tapley pursued a career in emergency nursing at Advocate BroMenn Regional Emergency Department in Normal, OSF Saint Francis Emergency Department in Peoria, and OSF St. Joseph Emergency Department in Bloomington. He was a wonderful, cherished emergency nurse who helped save hundreds of lives.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to an ISU nursing student who embodies the qualities we honor in Eric both as a nurse and a human being. His scholarship fund is an “open fund.” Donations will help relieve the economic stress of nursing education while allowing Eric’s legacy to inspire those who follow.

For more information about this scholarship, or to make a contribution, please contact Jenny Ward, Director of Development at (309) 438-7178 or You can also make a gift online at  Please note “In memory of Eric Tapley, BSN”.