Children’s eyes light up this time of year when opening presents and none were wider than Alice McMurry’s, associate vice president for advancement, upon opening a letter in the mail that included a check for $3.5 million – the largest gift in the history of Millersville University.
The money, from the estate of Liselotte R. Wehrheim, class of 1974, will be used for scholarships for non-traditional nursing students. This transformational gift will fund the Liselotte R. Wehrheim Scholarship in Nursing Endowment, helping to prepare students for jobs in the growing healthcare industry.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to our alum, friend and supporter, Liselotte Wehrheim,” said President Daniel A. Wubah. “Especially at this time of year, when many of us think of giving to others, the generosity of one alum will have a lasting impact on hundreds of our nursing students now and into the future. While our Advancement staff had been working with Ms. Wehrheim, the size of the gift was a wonderful surprise.”
Wehrheim was the oldest known living alum of Millersville University and recently died at the age of 103. She was a non-traditional student at Millersville and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nursing at age 59. She was a practicing nurse into her 90s.
In 2008, at age 92, Wehrheim was interviewed for the University’s magazine, “The Review.” She said, “Millersville was a gift to me as a mature, older person. It was a wonderful experience. They accepted me, and it was a joy for me to be able to function on the level of 20-year-olds when I was more than twice their age.”
Wehrheim’s scholarship, the “Liselotte R. Wehrheim Scholarship in Nursing” is designed for students who have unusual or special circumstances affecting the completion of their education, such as simultaneously supporting or caring for a parent, child or spouse.
Born in Germany, her parents provided her with a well-rounded education in Germany, France and England. During World War II, Wehrheim was wounded while serving as a military nurse in Poland and Russia. In 1955, she came to the U.S. to work as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department, using her fluency in German, French, English, Russian and Polish.
Back when she was a student at Millersville, she said that many people wondered why she went back to school so late in life. “You are never too old to learn,” were her words of wisdom.