Ruth (Baughman) Oesch ’61 credits her rewarding nursing career to the preparation she received as a student of Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN). She holds equal appreciation for the donor who provided the scholarship funds she needed to pursue her passion.

“I was the oldest of four children,” Oesch said. “Without my scholarship, I don’t know whether I would have been able to complete my degree work. It helped my parents and me a great deal.”

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The impact financial aid had on shaping her life inspired Oesch to create the Ruth A. Oesch Endowed Scholarship with a commitment of $50,000. Recipients will be registered nurses working to advance with a bachelor’s degree, or nursing undergraduates pursuing a master’s in the field.   

“Nursing will continue to play a prominent role in health care throughout the world,” Oesch said. “I want to do something to ensure that as I and my family get older, there are well-educated nurses to help us with everything we encounter as health care consumers.”

Oesch has been dedicated to providing quality care others have need throughout her career. She established the first post-operative recovery room in the Bloomington-Normal area, and helped develop the community’s first intensive care unit.

Prior to her retirement, Oesch worked as a health care instructor and liaison to higher education institutions for years. Her efforts on behalf of Mennonite College of Nursing have included serving as president of the alumni association, as well as being a strong advocate while a member of the Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing Board of Trustees.

With MCN’s 100th anniversary celebration this year, there seemed to Oesch no better time to endow her scholarship. She is pleased to support the future of nursing overall by investing in the next generation of Mennonite College of Nursing graduates.

Will you make a difference by supporting your passion? Make a contribution to Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State by going online to, or calling (309) 438-8184. For information about supporting Illinois State through estate planning, visit, or call (309) 438-8184.