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ETBU Students Receive Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship

July 24, 2019

A crowd gathered at the Marshall Grand last week to celebrate and honor the generosity of a community and distinguish six local students who seek to impact the medical industry through a future career in nursing. Three East Texas Baptist University students were presented with the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship on behalf of the Cargill family and CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Foundation. ETBU’s Joshua Hartley, Colby Simmons, and Stacie Simmons received the scholarship during the reception held at the newly opened Marshall Grand.

“Polly Cargill was our mother. She was an East Texas girl, raised in Longview. Making people feel happy was one of her greatest skills,” philanthropist and donor Jerry Cargill said. “When our mother passed away, those nurses were everywhere. They were comforting her, they were comforting us, and they made us feel like everything was okay.”

Jerry’s and his brother Jack’s hearts were touched at the level of care that Polly Cargill received from nurses at Marshall Hospital. After she passed, the Cargill brothers decided to honor their mother’s legacy as well as the care shown to their family during such a difficult time by instituting the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship fund, helping students in East Texas become equipped and compassionate nurses.

“We are so grateful to the Cargills for what they have done in creating this special scholarship for nursing students in East Texas, and throughout our state,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “Our ears ring and our hearts sing hearing and knowing what our CHRISTUS healthcare partners are doing in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. That’s what God has called us to do as a University, to train professionally skilled nurses, who have hearts for serving in the ministry of Jesus and through the healthcare training they receive at ETBU.”

Since its inception 17 years ago, the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship has provided financial aid to almost 60 nursing students from schools across the East Texas region. Adam Golden, the keynote speaker for the event, was a 2005 Polly Cargill Scholarship recipient, 2006 honor graduate of ETBU’s School of Nursing, and 2002 graduate of Marshall High School. Golden recently earned a D Magazine “Excellence in Nursing” award, and was recognized as one of the Dallas/Fort Worth area’s “Great 100 Nurses.”

“As I was growing up in Marshall, there weren’t a lot of resources. But, somewhere along the way, I had people who encouraged me, pushed me, and helped me become who I am today,” Golden said. “More than anything, this scholarship gave me the opportunity to continue my education at ETBU, which I truly believe is one of the best possible places to get a nursing education.”

This year, thanks in part to a partnership with CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Foundation, a record-breaking six students from local schools including East Texas Baptist University, University of Texas at Tyler, Kilgore College, and University of Texas at Arlington were able to receive the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship.

“This scholarship is an amazing opportunity. It means that people in Marshall are really trying to invest in our future and give us the best opportunity to succeed,” ETBU junior Nursing major and scholarship recipient Joshua Hartley said. “ETBU has given me more than just an education. It has helped me spiritually and helped me grow as a person and as a future nurse. I have received more than I could ever ask for at ETBU.”

Partnering with the Cargill family, the CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Foundation and Marshall Community leaders Richard and Christina Anderson, made scholarship contributions in order to make this the best year yet for the Polly Cargill Scholarship fund and commemorated their achievement by hosting the event at the historic Marshall Grand, the recently renovated home to the ETBU School of Nursing.

“We are honored to host the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship each year to help deserving East Texas nursing students with the costs of their education,” Director of Development for CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Foundation Aliceson Howell said. “It is an investment that has paid off over and over again, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with ETBU and its nursing students.”

While the Polly Cargill Foundation and the CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Foundation celebrate six scholarships, up from the previous record of four, the group is already planning for next year and hopes to make an even greater impact with a new record of scholarship recipients in 2020.

“Our mission at CHRISTUS Health is pretty simple, but it’s very profound and powerful. It is simply this: extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Vice President of Philanthropy for CHRISTUS Health Scott Fossey said. “I can think of no better way to tie that mission in today by investing in healthcare, leadership, nursing students, and the nurses of tomorrow.”