In spring 2017, Susan Vontell, BSN ’82, MSN decided to make a financial donation that would encourage a student to enter Saint Joseph’s College and pursue nursing. She created an endowed scholarship for first-generation nursing students from Maine and she dedicated it to her parents, naming it the George and Ruth Jones Nursing Endowed Scholarship.
“My parents didn’t go to college. There were a lot of young women in my class who were first-generation college students as well. We all received financial aid and couldn’t have done it without that support. My parents wanted me to go to college, so this scholarship is in their honor.”
Vontell carves time out of her busy life as a Nurse Practitioner working as a Surgical Hospitalist at the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut to read her alma mater’s alumni newsletters, as well as the online version of her hometown newspaper, The Lewiston Sun Journal. That’s where she heard the news about the creation of the
Center for Nursing Innovation at Saint Joseph’s College. “I didn’t know anything about the new Center, but the fact that the College is pushing to get more alums involved in this initiative helped me get on board. When I heard, I wanted to help.”
Seeing the nursing shortage challenges and how the College planned to address them, Vontell decided she wanted to make a difference. “My husband and I are at a stage in life when it’s time to give back. We look seriously at our charitable giving to organizations that have meaning for us.”
If you are interested in donating in honor or memory of someone, you may donate online at
www.sjcme.edu/donate/ or contact Jean Maginnis at
Susan Vontell ‘82, and her husband, Michael Kovalchik visit campus to discuss the George and Ruth Jones Nursing Endowed Scholarship that they founded. They met with President Dlugos to hear about the College’s Strategic Plan and enjoyed lunch with the first recipient of their nursing scholarship, named after Vontell’s parents. Left to right, Michelle Howard, Development Officer, Michael Kovalchik, Susan Vontell ‘82, and President Jim Dlugos (Photo: Patricia Erikson).