Vanderburgh Community Foundation Accepting Applications For The Clarence And Dorothy Gerard Scholarship For Nursing

(Vanderburgh County, Indiana)  The Vanderburgh Community Foundation is now accepting online applications for the first recipient of the Clarence and Dorothy Gerard Scholarship for Nursing. The scholarship is a new, annually renewable scholarship for $ 7,500 being administered by the Foundation. The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, March 31, 2020. 

Open to graduating seniors of any high school located in Posey, Vanderburgh, or Warrick counties, applicants must be planning to pursue a nursing degree at an accredited college, university, or technical/vocational school located within the counties served by the Community Foundation Alliance. Those counties include Daviess, Gibson, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties. Applicants must also have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Selection will be based on the strength of the student’s essay, involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, and/or work experience, and financial need.

Additional information and the online application are available on the Vanderburgh Community Foundation’s website at

This annual renewable scholarship was established by the estate of John Gerard in honor of his parents. The scholarship will provide educational support to a graduate of a Posey, Vanderburgh, or Warrick County high school to pursue a nursing degree at a college or university in Southwestern Indiana.

Born in 1915, Dorothy Willett studied nursing and graduated in 1936 from St. Mary’s Hospital Nursing School where she became the first surgical nurse assisting in cataract surgery.  Her career continued as a nurse for Republic Aviation factory in Evansville, Indiana, which churned out thousands of P-47 Thunderbolts during World War II.  In 1947, she met and married Clarence Gerard who served in the Navy.

Soon they began a family, welcoming sons Steve and John.  As they came of age, Steve and John joined the family business, the Old Country School Restaurant, working together with their parents until its closing in 1987.  Steve continued in restaurant management and John worked in the clerk and assessor’s offices until his retirement.

After Clarence’s death in 1985, John lived and traveled with Dorothy, and they attended musical performances and the theater until her passing at age 97 in 2012.  Later, John and his husband, Don Settle, enjoyed exploring historical sights and experiencing the arts until Don’s death in 2017.

John passed away in 2018.  It was his greatest honor to memorialize his parents, Clarence and Dorothy Gerard, with a nursing scholarship endowment to continue his mother’s legacy of care for generations now and in the future.

For questions, contact Sidney Hardgrave, Regional Director of Community Engagement and Impact at 812.422.1245 or via email