Scholarships Address Growing Nursing Shortage and Continue the Legacies of Loved Ones


It was once said, “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.”

Yet the number of those entering the nursing profession is dwindling . According to statistics cited by the American Hospital Association, the nursing shortage in America will reach 1 .1 million by the end of 2022. Whether it’s from post-pandemic fatigue, retirements or burnout, the fact remains – nurses are needed.

When Frostburg State University started its Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program in 2008, it was a first step in FSU’s efforts to address the state’s shortage of nurses . FSU has since expanded its offerings to include a four-year pathway to a BSN in collaboration with Allegany College of Maryland, as well as a Master of Science in Nursing with four concentrations, including two nurse practitioner pathways.

To support the recruitment and retaining of nursing students, several alumni and friends of FSU have established new scholarships in honor of their loved ones who were nurses and touched the lives of others.

The Dr. Pat and Mrs. Catherine Fetchero Nursing Scholarship

Dr. Pat and Mrs. Catherine FetcheroFor Mike Fetchero, creating a scholarship was the perfect way for him and his siblings to honor their parents who worked in the healthcare profession. The Dr. Pat and Mrs. Catherine Fetchero Nursing Scholarship is presented to a nursing major with preference given to residents of Appalachia. Even though the former investment broker is not a native of Western Maryland, Mike encouraged his brother and sister to invest in producing nurses for the local area.

“I told my brother and sister – if any part of the state needs [the support], Western Maryland needs it,” said Mike, who has long resided in Cumberland.

Mike’s father, Pat, was a dentist who later in life taught at the dental school at the University of Maryland. However, it was Mike’s mother who inspired the scholarship. She was a practicing nurse before leaving the profession to become a full-time mother and homemaker.

“My mother valued her nursing,” Mike said of Catherine, who passed away in 2018. “When one of us would come with a cut or scrape, she’d fix us up.”

“We all wanted something to memorialize our parents. Something more than a headstone in a field.”

While Mike is not a graduate of Frostburg, his wife, Angela Fetchero M’92, and son, John Fetchero ’05/M’12, are. Mike has received letters from FSU students who have been the recipients of the scholarship, including a single mother who said the funds were the determining factor in her completing her nursing degree. A letter like that has deep significance for Mike and his siblings.

“We all wanted something to memorialize our parents. Something more than a headstone in a field,” he added. “This will make a difference if we even get one new nurse in the area.”

And it keeps the memory of Pat and Catherine living on – especially his nurse mother. “She’d be proud to have her name associated with it.”

The A. Margaret and James C. Sunderland Nursing Scholarship

A. Margaret and James C. SunderlandFrostburg has always been a healing place for Carol Sunderland Fegan ’76. She lost her father, James Sunderland, to a sudden heart attack when she was in her first year of high school and then her mother, Margaret, passed away from cancer in the middle of Carol’s first year at college. Alone and uncertain how she would pay for her schooling, Carol made the difficult decision to continue with her education.

“I remember sitting and thinking, ‘What would my mom and dad do?’” Carol recalled. “They would want me to go on and live my life.”

So Carol returned to Western Maryland from her home in Howard County, Md., to finish her psychology degree and start a new life. She met and married her husband, Jeff Fegan ’76, while attending Frostburg State, and the two have now been married for 47 years. When she and Jeff visit Frostburg from their home in Texas, Carol admits to getting that “Frostburg feeling” of “warmth and peacefulness.”

“Frostburg was really a refuge for me – a shelter from the storm,” Carol confided. “I had a normal and typical college life. I wasn’t the orphan up here. I was just a student.”

Carol relied on her parents’ Social Security, veteran benefits and smaller scholarships to put herself through college. Therefore, it was fitting that Carol set up a scholarship in her parents’ memory to help financially struggling students. The A. Margaret and James C. Sunderland Nursing Scholarship assists individuals seeking a nursing degree. Carol’s mother, Margaret, first attended business school at her parent’s urging, even though she always dreamed of becoming a nurse.

“After a short stint in Business Arithmetic, among other classes, she finally succeeded in convincing her parents to allow her to attend nursing school,” Carol said. Margaret graduated from Maryland General Nursing School and worked as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. “Her dream realized!”

“I value nurses. … What better way to honor [my mother] than to offer the opportunity for someone to pursue a career in a profession to which she dedicated herself and so dearly loved.”

It would be a war that would bring Carol’s parents together. At the start of World War II, Jim enlisted in the Army, and Margaret quit her job and worked as an Army nurse stationed at Fort Belvoir Military Hospital in Virginia. When Jim was a patient at the hospital, he met “Nurse Maggie” and the two started a romance. They were married in 1949 in Baltimore. Margaret returned to nursing at the Kernan Children’s Hospital, and Jim remained in the Army, stationed at Fort Meade, and later worked at the Social Security Administration.

The hard work and tenacity of her parents are what inspired Carol to create a scholarship in their name. For her, the scholarship has a twofold purpose. First, since her father never realized his dream of attending college, it is a way to pay it forward.

“This will provide the means for someone else’s dream of a college education,” Carol said.

The other reason is a way to celebrate her mother’s profession. “My mother was a very selfless and giving person. She was the epitome of what it’s like to be a nurse,” Carol said. “I value nurses. … What better way to honor [my mother] than to offer the opportunity for someone to pursue a career in a profession to which she dedicated herself and so dearly loved.”

Having lost her parents at such a young age, Carol hopes that the story of Jim and Margaret will inspire the students who benefit from the scholarship. And the two will continue to touch lives.

“Everyone has tragedy in their lives. For me, I always try to take those things and try to learn a lesson in compassion,” Carol said. “To the scholarship recipients I would add, you may not remember their names, but perhaps you will remember the story of two people who are now a part of your story.”

The Ruth F. Brown Nursing Scholarship

Ruth F. BrownBefore Registered Nurse Ruth Brown passed away in 2018, she and her husband, Coleman “Cole” Brown II, had the opportunity to experience firsthand the importance of nurses and all of those who assist physicians.

“My wife in her last days would see a lot of assistants,” Cole remembered. “They are the future of medicine, especially in a small community.”

Those experiences, tied with Cole’s desire “to do something for FSU,” compelled him to create The Ruth F. Brown Nursing Scholarship in memory of his beloved wife of 41 years. Applicants can be either full- or part-time students in the Department of Nursing. Cole has admired the University ever since his stepdaughters, Linda Diehl Lau ’80 and Donna Diehl Moyer ’82 attended FSU.

It’s a fitting tribute for Ruth, who graduated from Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Cumberland in 1957 and worked as a general nurse at the hospital throughout her career. Cole chuckled when thinking of how seriously Ruth took her role as a caregiver.

“She was perpetually late for everything, but never going to work as a nurse,” he recalled. “That was just Ruthie.”

“She believed in taking care of the patients first. She spent time with them and had a personal connection with every one.”

His wife, who worked “full-time, part-time” with many overnight shifts, always put the care of patients first and foremost above her required paperwork. “She believed in taking care of the patients first. She spent time with them and had a personal connection with every one.”

A retired executive from Beall, Garner, Screen and Geare Insurance, Cole is in awe of the resolve of those in the nursing profession. “Nurses are troopers. You have to be hard-skinned.”

Above all, Cole believes Ruth would be “tickled” by his creation of the scholarship and hopes his generosity encourages more caring individuals to enroll in the FSU program and seek a career as a nurse.

“We need them.”


In addition to those noted elsewhere on these pages, numerous other scholarships supporting nursing students have been established:

  • Nancy Dawson Arnold Nursing Scholarship
  • Adele S. Bruchey, R.N., Nursing Scholarship
  • Roy and Gi Buckheit Endowed Scholarship
  • Enid P. Kennedy Endowed Nursing Scholarship
  • Constance Spates Endowed Scholarship
  • Muriel and Richard Sturtevant Memorial Nursing Scholarship


To make a gift in support of any nursing scholarship, call the FSU Foundation at 301-687-4068 or visit online at frostburg.edu/foundation.