SALEM, MA —Salem State University will establish 10 annual scholarships to the School of Nursing worth $4,500 each through a $1.3 million gift from the late Walter G. and Betty Groce.
The school said the gift will fund an endowment that will allow the scholarships to become permanent.
The Martha Evans and Betty Groce Scholarships are named in honor of Betty Groce, who wished to become a nurse but instead cared for her family while Walter pursued his career, and Walter’s half-sister, Martha Evans, who also wanted to be a nurse, but succumbed to tuberculosis at 17 years old.
“The majority of our nursing students rely on scholarships and other forms of financial aid to complete their degree and reach their goal of launching a healthcare career,” Joanne Carlson, chairperson of the School of Nursing at Salem State University, said. “We are forever grateful to the Groce family for bequeathing such a generous gift to assist our dedicated students, both today and for generations to come.”
Walter and Betty Groce’s son, Robert, told the school that his parents came from humble beginnings and worked hard throughout their marriage to save and invest.
“When my father, Walter, enrolled in the Army Corps of Engineers Unit in the late 1930s, he saved all his military pay and sent it back to Betty for savings,” Robert explained. “In the 1950s, he began investing these meager savings in electric, gas, and telephone utility stock.”
As the investments grew, the Groces decided to gift half of their estate to a school of nursing in Betty’s honor, as well as the Radio Club of America.
“Through their estate planning, Mr. and Mrs. Groce were able to stipulate how their remaining funds should be allocated to charity while still offering an annual income stream to their children and grandchildren,” Cheryl Crounse, executive director of the Salem State University Foundation, said. “We at Salem State University are grateful that the Groce Family is supporting our nursing students in such a meaningful and needed way, and we are honored to carry out their wishes.”