The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


Director of Development
College of Nursing
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Dec. 21, 1999

Contributor establishes nursing scholarship for Iowans

IOWA CITY, Iowa—A generous gift to the University of Iowa Foundation for the UI College of Nursing will provide scholarships enabling deserving Iowa residents to pursue nursing studies. Mary J. Zender of Lincoln, Neb., has made a $49,000 gift in honor of her late parents, establishing the Lloyd and Gladys Burr Cunningham Nursing Scholarship.

Earnings from the endowed scholarship fund are expected to provide at least one student with a full scholarship to the UI College of Nursing each year. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time during the 2000-2001 academic year.

Melanie Dreher, dean of the UI College of Nursing, said Zender’s generosity "not only provides an educational opportunity for talented Iowans who wish to serve their communities as health care providers, but it memorializes Mary Zender’s parents with a legacy of care and healing."

Mary Zender said her mother’s unrealized nursing aspirations prompted the gift. "My mother had always wanted to be a nurse," she recalled, "but at that time, girls were not encouraged to go to college. My husband, Bob, and I have been very fortunate in life. We felt that while my mother couldn’t be a nurse, we could help someone else realize that ambition." Zender invested funds she received from her mother’s estate and used them to establish the nursing scholarship. Gladys Burr Cunningham died in 1991; her husband, Lloyd, died in 1969.

The Zenders are both natives of Cresco, Iowa. Mary Zender studied political science at the UI, and Bob Zender received his business administration degree from the University in 1948. Before retiring to Lincoln, Neb., Bob Zender was vice president and controller with AT&T Communications in New Jersey.

Mary Zender made her gift as part of the College of Nursing’s Centennial Campaign for Nursing Education, a $1.5 million fund-raising effort to keep the college in a national leadership position by funding scholarships, research, renovations in clinical practice and technology laboratories, and endowed faculty positions.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni, friends and businesses to provide funds for scholarships, facilities improvements, professorships, technology and other forms of support for the UI.