LAWRENCE — A retired nurse who grew up in the small town of Whitewater, Kansas, left a $4.2 million gift from her estate to create scholarships for generations of nursing students at KU Medical Center.
Margaret Ann Zimmerman lived a life of service to others and dedication to her nursing career. Zimmerman, who died in Silver Spring, Maryland, created a scholarship fund in her name in the KU School of Nursing. The fund will provide support for postdoctoral students and full-time doctoral students. It also will assist in recruiting students in the undergraduate nursing honors program and the Nursing Pathways diversity program.
In addition to her career as a nurse, she was a devoted volunteer. She helped the American Cancer Society by transporting patients to and from their treatments, among other charities.
Zimmerman was born in Whitewater, in southern Kansas, in 1923 and received a certificate in nursing from KU Medical Center in 1947 as well as a public health nursing degree from the University of Minnesota. She retired as a child health nursing supervisor at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Health Department. She died in 2017 at 94.
Zimmerman had family ties to KU: Her father, Levi Zimmerman, who owned a flour mill in Whitewater, was a KU graduate; and her late sister, Ina Belle Zimmerman, was a dietician who completed her internship at KU Medical Center.
Sally Maliski, dean of the KU School of Nursing, said the generous donation will, among other purposes, assist the school in attracting top talent for its doctoral programs.
“These programs prepare future nursing faculty and nurse researchers to serve the state and the nation,” Maliski said. “We are grateful to Margaret Zimmerman for her foresight and her support of the nursing profession.”
Zimmerman loved the outdoors and became an avid sailor. She also enjoyed skiing, tennis, golf, traveling and gardening.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.