Ann and Inella Kunz have donated an additional $26,000 to the Utah State University Foundation and the Ann and Inella Kunz Scholarship Endowment. The gift will continue to support nursing students at USU Uintah Basin who are pursuing careers in that field.
“We appreciate Ann and Inella for continuing to support Uintah Basin nursing students, especially as we see the full impact of these nurses today on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James Y. Taylor, associate vice president.
Ann and Inella Kunz each became nurses while raising families. The sisters were raised in Idaho and Montana. Their father and mother had limited educational opportunities, only finishing third and eighth grade, respectively. Ann married and stayed in Montana. She became a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Billings in 1993 and raised six sons. She completed her associate degree in nursing (ADN) to become a registered nurse (RN) in Clarkson, Washington in 2008 and since has worked in long-term care, orthopedics, dermatology and family medicine.
Ann Kunz lives in Clarkston, Washington, with her husband Dr. John Gerwels, where they understand the need for great nurses in rural hospitals. Thanks to her donation, and donations of several others in the community, the Uintah Basin campus was able to add a nursing simulation lab in 2015, making huge impacts in the students’ success. The lab is named “Annie’s Place.”
Inella Kunz met her husband and moved to Vernal, receiving her LPN from Uintah Basin Technical College in 1992. She completed her ADN in Vernal through Weber State University in 1994 while raising five children. For 28 years, she has worked in the maternal/newborn unit. She completed her bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) in 2008 and master’s of science in nursing (MSN) in 2013. She taught at UBTech nursing program for two years before starting with USU in 2012.
As first-generation university students who both found stability for their families through education, the sisters have funded this scholarship to benefit students who share not only their lofty educational goals, but also their economically challenging background. This scholarship will help educate the next generation of nurses who will help address statewide nursing shortages.
Along with being USU Uintah Basin students enrolled in the nursing program, awardees must maintain a 3.0 GPA, take a minimum of three credits per semester, and preferentially be first generation students. Endowed scholarships are invested in the university’s endowment pool. Each year, a portion of the earnings is used to fund the award to a students. This scholarship will support up to three students each semester for the next five years.
In addition to her monetary support, Inella Kunz plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations within USU Uintah Basin’s nursing program. She is the campus coordinator and a professional practice assistant professor.
USU Uintah Basin offers an associate of applied science in nursing, which prepares students to take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed as a registered nurse. The new 100% online RN-to-BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) completion program is also now available. To learn about scholarships and other degrees and programs available scholarships in the Uintah Basin, visit uintahbasin.usu.edu.