Thanks to generous Missouri Western Foundation donors, three new scholarships have recently been established – the Mary Byrne Stewart Graduate Nursing Scholarship, the SJC Marketing Scholarship the Loah Stallard Graduate Nursing Scholarship.

The Mary Byrne Stewart Graduate Nursing Scholarship is for students enrolled in one of Missouri Western’s two master’s programs in nursing. It was established by her three daughters, Dr. Imogene Rigdon, Harriet Lunsford and Mary Jane Tabor.

“Nursing is a vibrant profession and a critical component of effective and efficient health care,” Dr. Rigdon said. “My sisters and I share a desire to impact the future of professional nursing by supporting the leadership education of nurses.”

Mary Byrne Stewart (1907-1962) grew up in St. Joseph and graduated from a nursing program in the Chicago area. She was a pioneer nurse anesthetist, administering anesthesia for patients of her father, Dr. John Ignatius Byrne, a prominent St. Joseph general practitioner and surgeon; a dentist and another physician.

Rigdon earned her Ph.D and is an advanced practice registered nurse, Lunsford is a retired nurse and Tabor is a licensed clinical social worker.

Susan Campbell ’01, founder and president of SJC Marketing, established the SJC Marketing Scholarship with first preference given to nontraditional students with a marketing major. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and must have completed at least 30 credit hours and be classified as a sophomore.

“I wanted to create an opportunity that may help a student attain a goal that was previously out of reach,” Campbell said. “Our scholarship will give preference to a nontraditional student who wants to pursue a marketing degree. This was the same path I took and it’s an honor to recognize someone else doing the same thing.”

SJC Marketing is a full-service contemporary marketing/communication, content creation and branding company. Campbell started it in 2005.

“College was a great time for me and opened up so many doors in my career. The quality of the curriculum and the professors is exceptional,” she said. “It’s an important local asset and one that I want to continue to support.”

For Don Stallard, M.D., establishing a scholarship at Missouri Western seemed a great way to honor his wife, Loah, so he recently made a gift to the Missouri Western Foundation to create the Loah Stallard Graduate Nursing Scholarship.

Loah Stallard

Loah was the Executive Director of the Social Welfare Board from 1979 to 2006, and since 2006, has been a Health Educator there.

“I am very honored; I didn’t expect it,” she said of the scholarship. “And I am glad it is going to help the nursing program at Missouri Western.” She noted that the University’s two graduate-degree tracks (nurse educator and health care leadership) address critical needs right now.

Loah graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iowa. She met Don there, who was completing his residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Loah stayed home to raise their four children before joining the Social Welfare Board in 1979. She returned to graduate school shortly after she was hired by the Social Welfare Board and earned a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas. She later earned a second master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in health care from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Under Loah’s guidance, the Social Welfare Board added dental services, gynecological services, a dietitian, crisis counseling, cardiovascular screening, arthritis services and a diabetic food program. She was one of the first to recognize the importance of using nurses with master’s degrees to provide the care in ambulatory clinics, especially in underserved and rural areas.

“People are so appreciative, you are making a change in their lives,” she said of her work at the Social Welfare Board.

Throughout her career, Loah also served on numerous community and state organizations’ boards, including the Missouri Western Foundation Board for 12 years. She received the YWCA’s Women of Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Don, who practiced internal medicine in St. Joseph for 35 years, said it was important to him that the scholarship be endowed so it would continue into the future. He and Loah also wanted to make it for graduate-level students to ensure that the recipients were committed to the nursing field long-term. Students from Buchanan County who are interested in working with underserved and under-insured populations will be given preference.

Don said he wants to encourage others to donate to the scholarship in Loah’s honor.

In other Missouri Western Foundation scholarship news, the scholarship that was established in 2016 to honor Dr. Len Archer, professor emeritus of chemistry, has reached the endowment level of $10,000, thanks to a number of recent gifts.