April 28, 2005


Yvonne Jurkovich Wilson
MSU University News April 06, 2005

More scholarships and fellowships will be available to nursing students at Montana State University thanks to a $500,000 gift honoring a Red Lodge native who graduated from MSU with a nursing degree in 1946.

Robert A. Wilson gave the gift in memory of his wife of 46 years, Yvonne Jurkovich Wilson, who died in 2002. The gift will establish an endowment known as the Jurkovich-Wilson Family Memorial.

The endowment is the largest gift the college has received. Income from the endowment will provide undergraduate student scholarships and graduate student fellowships to students pursuing a degree from the College of Nursing.

"She was a wonderful nurse and person," says Wilson of his wife. "All her professional life she was a teacher and mentor to the younger nurses. After I lost her I thought, 'What can I do?' I wanted to do something to honor her and at the same time help as she had helped in her lifetime. There's such a shortage of nurses, I hope this will help encourage some young people to go into the profession. It's my privilege to do this."

Jurkovich was the daughter of Yugoslavian immigrants. Her father was a coal miner at Washoe near Red Lodge. After graduating, she spent many years working in hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Calif. near San Francisco.

"This wonderful gift from Mr. Wilson is one that will give over and over," says College of Nursing Dean Elizabeth Nichols. "The income from this endowment will support graduate and undergraduate students for many years to come. His generosity is greatly appreciated, and will ensure the memory of his wife, one of our graduates, lives on."

Contact: Elizabeth Nichols (406) 994-3784, Rick Jackson (406) 994-4882