A Moraine Valley Community College Nursing Program graduate returned to campus to meet the students to whom scholarships were awarded thanks to her generosity.
Susan Van Amerongen, who now lives in Ohio, funded scholarships for five students this school year. The number grew to 10 because the Foundation Board was matching dollar-for-dollar with all donations.
“I turned 60 and wanted to do something spectacular for my birthday,” Van Amerongen said. “I thought about all the things I could do and trips I could take, but I decided to give back to Moraine Valley because nursing is at the heart of what I am, and Moraine Valley is where I got my start.”
Van Amerongen named the scholarships on behalf of her parents, Steve and Alice Molo, a gesture she wanted to do because of the support she received from them.
“My parents sacrificed a lot to get four kids, all born within five years, through Catholic schools,” she said. “I was a first-generation college student. There’s no way I would have been able to go through nursing school without huge loans unless I had worked and gone to school, which is exactly what I did. Our goal is to lessen the load for students who are doing that now.”
Van Amerongen contacted Kristy McGreal, Foundation executive director, to help her fulfill her birthday wish and set up the guidelines for the scholarships. Her scholarship recipients must be first-generation college students and studying to become a nurse.
She said she was happy for the opportunity to meet her scholarship recipients. “It was very exciting to talk with them. They are all trying to work, go to school and balance everything, which is exactly what I did.”
One of the recipients, Kimberly De La Torre, is grateful for the scholarship, acknowledging it is what helped her be able to attend school.
“College in general always seemed out of reach. Kids in my community didn’t have dreams of having professional careers. We were taught to do enough to get by,” she said. “The only reason I was able to attend college is because of scholarships. The opportunity I have in front of me is incredible, and I am trying to make the best of it for my sake and for my family. I can’t wait to one day give back to my community.”
Krista McCurrie put her goals of becoming a nurse on hold when her father was diagnosed with cancer. While it was a difficult time for her family, she said the positive that came out of it was she knew right then she wanted to become a nurse and help other families facing health challenges.
“I plan to work in oncology and give back the same positive and encouraging nursing care that my father received,” she said. “This scholarship is helping me achieve my goals, but more importantly is helping me make a difference in the lives of others.”
McGreal said she was pleased Van Amerongen was able to come to the college and meet her scholarship recipients.
“It’s wonderful to see the passion Susan developed for nursing during her time at Moraine Valley and has returned to support the dreams of our nursing students,” McGreal said. “It’s truly inspiring to see our alumni come back to Moraine Valley and create this type of support system for our students.”