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More Texas Woman's University graduate nursing students will receive financial assistance to become nursing faculty thanks to a $330,517 estate gift from the Austin W. Roberts Charitable Trust.

The endowment to the TWU Foundation will be used to give fellowships and scholarships to master's or doctoral level nursing students who will eventually become nursing faculty.

"In order to solve the nursing shortage, we must increase the supply of nursing faculty," said Dr. Patricia Holden-Huchton, dean of the TWU College of Nursing. "This generous gift is excellent news for our graduate students who desire to become faculty, so that they can pursue their goals with less of a financial burden."

Mr. Roberts' daughter, Dr. Diane Benson, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from TWU.

"My father was definitely committed to supporting nursing education," said Dr. Benson, professor of nursing at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. "I am delighted he chose TWU as part of this bequest because of my connection to the university."

Col. Austin W. Roberts (ret.) passed away in October 2008. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1941 and served in World War II and the Korean War. He remained active in the Army Reserve until his retirement in 1971. He was an accredited tax adviser, an ordained deacon, a member of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry and an active Mason and Shriner.
He and his late wife Ruth donated more than 27 scholarships to Texas A&M, including the university's first endowed nursing scholarship.

More Texas Woman's University students will receive scholarships to help meet their educational goals thanks to an $846,524 gift from the estate of Ima Jean Boenker of Fort Worth, a TWU alumna. The gift will be used to establish the Ima Jean Boenker Scholarship, which will provide up to $8,000 a year to students majoring in nutrition and food sciences.

"Ms. Boenker had a notable career in the food sciences field and was a longtime supporter of TWU through annual donations to the TWU General Scholarship Fund," TWU Chancellor Dr. Ann Stuart said. "The university is grateful for her generous estate planning, which will enable more of our outstanding nutrition students to achieve academic and professional success."

Ms. Boenker, 80, who passed away on Dec. 29, 2006, received her bachelor's of science in institutional management from TWU in 1948 and her master's of science in food and nutrition from the university in 1966. She had a long and varied career in food service management, serving as the business manager of food services for American Airlines, director of school food service for the Fort Worth Independent School District and as a state surveyor for Texas.

She was a member of the American Dietetic Association for more than 50 years and a past president of the Texas Dietetic Association.

According to longtime friend and colleague Barbara Bice, Ms. Boenker was grateful for the excellent education she received at TWU, which she felt was vital in her professional success.

"Ima Jean appreciated TWU and was very supportive of women's growth," Mrs. Bice said. "She wanted to support young women who would become professional women, and in particular those who will become dietitians."

Mrs. Bice said that Ms. Boenker had been interested in women's and children's issues all of her life. Ms. Boenker was active in a number of women's organizations, including Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. For several years Ms. Boenker also organized an annual Christmas party for a group of girls from Christ's Haven for Children in Keller, which provides on-campus housing or foster care for abused and neglected children.

"I think Ima Jean would be very pleased to know that these funds will continue to grow and contribute to the education of deserving students," Mrs. Bice said.

page last updated 7/13/2017 3:28 PM