When John Lawrence’s wife, Winifred, was in a nursing home, he noticed how attentive and compassionate Mennonite College of Nursing student nurses were. After she passed away, the family decided they wanted to give something back to the college.

Knowing he wanted to make a substantial gift, Lawrence met with MCN Dean Janet Krejci and Director of Development Jenny Ward and began working on the Winifred G. Lawrence Memorial Scholarship, which is funded by an annuity. For the rest of his life, he receives income from the annuity, which becomes an endowed scholarship upon his death. Because of an annual gift, the scholarship is awarded in his lifetime.

“We developed a way for me to invest our family money in the college, draw interest on it and leave it in endowment forever,” he said. “I don’t think anything has ever given me or my family any more pleasure than to help somebody with their college education.”

Although he’s not an Illinois State graduate, he’s become a part of the University through his involvement. He’s met his scholarship winner, mentors student nurses, and has been appointed to MCN’s strategic planning committee.

“If I were just giving a scholarship and walking away, that would be something well done but I’m not happy with that,” he said. “I like working with the school and take a great interest in Illinois State. We’re working on the future of the College of Nursing.”