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Kurt and Joyce Moser honor the past, provide for the future

Joyce ’83 and Kurt Moser

Kurt and Joyce '83 Moser

Two separate but equally impactful moments influenced the decision of Joyce ’83 and Kurt Moser to create a scholarship within the Mennonite College of Nursing during Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. The first was the couple’s middle son Rob’s diagnosis with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1997, and the second, was the passing of Joyce’s mother, Coletta Kintzle, in 2010.

The couple’s son Rob, now 50, is a three-time cancer survivor who eventually received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a 35-year-old woman from West Germany.

“All through his time in treatment the importance of nursing was really brought home to us,” said Kurt. “We saw firsthand the impact of good nurses during a difficult time.”

The second profound experience that impacted the couple’s giving was a conversation Joyce had with her mother.

“It was a few days before she died—I was the only one there with her. She started talking and said she’d always wanted to be a nurse,” said Joyce. “She had to quit school when she was a sophomore in high school to help out on the family’s farm.”

The couple wanted to give back in a way that would pay tribute to Coletta’s story. “We wanted to honor her dream,” said Joyce.

A generous gift to Illinois State University’s renowned Mennonite College of Nursing was the perfect way to honor Rob’s and Coletta’s stories. In 2015 the couple established the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship to benefit junior or senior nursing students who demonstrate a desire to treat those they encounter throughout their nursing careers with dignity and respect.

Hannah Murdock ’17 was the 2017 recipient of the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship. She says receiving the scholarship was motivating when money was tight. “I am the daughter of a single mother and a first-generation college graduate. When I received the scholarship, I was working two jobs while enrolled as a full-time student. Their donation, along with their kind and supportive words, was a great push to get through my last year of nursing school.”

Murdock is currently a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign but entered the Air Force as a NICU RN stationed in San Antonio in June.

Eduardo Ornelas ’16 received the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship in 2016. “It was very special to be a recipient of this scholarship because it showed me that others believed in me and my success and wanted to be a part of the road that was going to get me there,” said Ornelas.

Ornelas most recently worked in the surgical intensive care unit at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a level one trauma center. At the end of May, he entered a Doctor of Nursing program to become a nurse anesthetist, which would not have been possible so soon after graduating without him having received the Mosers’ scholarship.

“We want to see students work hard and succeed,” said Joyce. “We want to give our scholarship recipients the opportunity to spend more time on their schoolwork rather than juggling so much just to get through school.”

Joyce is no stranger to balancing it all while in school. She came to Illinois State University as a nontraditional student. She was already a married mother of two when she enrolled in undergraduate classes, and her third son was born before she graduated with a degree in business administration in 1983. Meanwhile, Kurt supported Joyce’s academic journey while engaged in what would become a 35-year career at State Farm.

The couple knows the pressures students face today while in college—they can see it firsthand since three of their grandchildren are now attending college.

Kurt and Joyce have enjoyed meeting their scholarship recipients, including their 2018 recipient, Alison Alcazar ’18.

“I received the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship my senior year of nursing school,” said Alcazar. “I faced several uncertainties such as passing the National Council Licensure Examination, finding a job, and figuring out where to move after graduation. This scholarship alleviated the added financial stress most college students experience. It reassured me that all of my hard work in my undergraduate nursing career had paid off in several ways.”

“It’s rewarding to see how excited the students are to have the opportunity to receive a scholarship,” said Joyce. “To know that we’re making a difference in their lives is really meaningful.”

For Alcazar, that difference is palpable. “Here I am, one year later working as a general medicine nurse at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. I could not be more grateful for this opportunity, all with the help and generosity of the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship.”

When asked if it was difficult to make the decision to give back, the Mosers spoke to the ease of contributing to Mennonite College of Nursing—thanks to its impressive reputation—and their approval of how their money has been well stewarded to benefit Illinois State’s students. Kurt also encourages donors to give to something they are passionate about. “At ISU there are many areas you can be passionate about. You just have to find that cause.”

The Mosers’ passion is clear: to support students who will go on to provide compassionate nursing care to their patients.

Justene Jennings, 2019 recipient of the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship, is grateful for the Mosers’ decision to give back. “One of the greatest gifts you can receive in life is a good education—a gift the Moser family has given myself and others at Mennonite College of Nursing. As I look into my future, I am excited to make a difference in the field and have hopes of continuing my education—a goal made more attainable thanks to the Moser family. I cannot express enough my gratitude and appreciation for such a loving and caring family who have helped my dream of becoming a nurse come true.”

Kurt and Joyce Moser ’83 with the 2018 recipient of the Coletta Kintzle Memorial Scholarship, Alison Alcazar ’18.

Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State has received more than $156 million in contributions from over 51,000 donors. Since the start of the campaign, donors have created 183 endowed funds that directly support students. To provide for Illinois State students through your contribution and help Illinois State continue to rise, visit RedbirdsRising.IllinoisState.edu.

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