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Nursing school gets large gift for scholarships

December 15, 2006

Photo of a female nurse tending to a young woman in a hospital bedThe School of Nursing recently received $296,000, the largest individual gift in the school's 50-year history. The gift, from the estate of William "Ray" Tobias Jr. and Jacquelyn Hawkins Tobias, will create an endowed scholarship fund for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students who have an interest in either oncology or cardiovascular nursing.

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Tobias had any previous relationship with the University but both were acutely aware of the nursing shortage and believed in the importance of providing direct support to outstanding nursing students. Mrs. Tobias died of complications from cancer in 2003. Mr. Tobias struggled with cardiovascular problems during his later years. In 2005 he also passed away from cancer.

"Ray spent the last three and a half months of his life in the hospital and had a lot of interaction with the nursing staff," said his close friend Donald Wunsch, a retired attorney and executor of the estate. "In conversation with the practical nurses, he often heard how much they would like to advance to a degree in nursing and a much better salary as a registered nurse. They just didn't have the money." As a result, the bulk of the estate was awarded to hospitals where Tobias and his wife had been treated and the nursing programs at San Francisco State University and University of California, San Francisco.

"It's wonderful what he's done," Wunsch said. "It benefits not only the nursing students but the patients they will care for in the future."

Associate Professor Andrea Boyle, interim director of the School of Nursing, said, "The entire School of Nursing is deeply appreciative of this gift. Mr. and Mrs. Tobias' generosity and vision will enable us to offer financial support to our students for generations to come. We have many talented students in our nursing program who are committed to providing excellent critical care in oncology and cardiovascular nursing, two concentrations where there continues to be a tremendous need." Boyle stated that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., with cancer being the second leading cause.

The late Mr. and Mrs. Tobias were residents of San Bruno. Mr. Tobias began his career in the airline industry in the commissary and in-flight catering field, where he worked for 25 years. In 1975, following the death of his father, Mr. Tobias purchased a hotel representative and reservations firm in San Francisco. He operated the firm for the next 25 years until his retirement in 2000. Mrs. Tobias retired as an insurance executive after 44 years of employment at a financial services firm.

Founded in 1955, the SF State School of Nursing offers bachelor and master of science degrees. At any given time more than 400 students are enrolled in the school's highly competitive programs, which prepare students for licensure to practice nursing in a variety of settings.

The Development Office can answer questions about planned giving and other methods of supporting SF state students and programs. For details, call (415) 338-1042.

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified December 15, 2006 by University Communications