Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska creates scholarship for students at UNK preparing for service in rural health care
ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Ryan Splittgerber, right, assistant professor and gross anatomy lab director, helps students in the Health Sciences Education Complex in Kearney, which officially opened Aug. 20, 2015. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has created a scholarship to assist students studying there who wish to practice health care in rural areas of the state.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is supporting future rural health care professionals who study at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The company has made a $300,000 gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska UNK Health Sciences Scholarships. This permanently endowed fund will serve to forever support high school graduates from rural counties in Nebraska.
The gift marks the university’s efforts to secure additional private support for student scholarships, faculty professorships and academic programs related to health care programs offered in Kearney at the new Health Science Education Complex. The $19 million facility, dedicated on Aug. 20, was funded by the Nebraska Legislature and private donations and now serves as home to the health care programs offered by both UNK and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Students who have a desire to pursue a health care career in rural Nebraska will receive first priority for the annual scholarship.
“The investment not only in high school graduates from greater Nebraska, but prioritizing those who want to serve rural communities, particularly piqued our interest in this endowed scholarship program,” said Steve Martin, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. “Efforts like these to keep the talents of promising youth within our state have a ripple effect well beyond health care.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska UNK Health Sciences Scholarships will be awarded to about eight students a year in its first three years. Following positive results in its first three years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield may possibly expand the scholarship to provide as many as 12 scholarship awards by the sixth year of the program.
“The leadership from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska in establishing this generous scholarship fund continues the company’s longtime support of the university and will help many future generations of students who wish to make a difference through rural health care,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “Preparing a quality health care workforce for our state is essential for improving the quality of life for so many Nebraskans, and we’re grateful for this support of our students.”
Candidates for the scholarship must be pursuing a bachelor of science degree or be in a pre-professional health care program in Health Science in UNK’s College of Natural and Social Sciences. Recipients may also be pursuing a degree within the College of Nursing or College of Allied Health Professions at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Kearney division.
If you would also like to help support the health care programs offered on the UNK campus, please go to nufoundation.org to give online to the College of Nursing and the School of Allied Health Professions Kearney Fund for Excellence. You may also contact development directors Sarah Carlson with Nursing at or Patty Sherman with Allied Health Professions at or call them at 800-432-3216 to learn about other ways to help.