Skip to main content

$50K scholarship gift aids WVU School of Nursing students from West Virginia

Natalie Bush poses with late aunt Thelma Marion Ferrise during their last visit in 2021.

Natalie Bush poses with late aunt Thelma Marion Ferrise during their last visit in 2021.

West Virginia University School of Nursing students from West Virginia will benefit from a dedicated alumna’s $50,000 scholarship gift in memory of her late aunt.

Natalie and Wes Bush, of McLean, Va., established the Thelma Marion Ferrise Nursing Scholarship, which will be awarded to undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Nursing. Recipients must be from West Virginia, with first preference for those from Harrison County.

The gift was made in conjunction with a WVU Day of Giving challenge, pushing the WVU School of Nursing to $593,125 raised from 125 gifts. Across the University system, alumni and friends made over 5,600 gifts totaling $15.5 million March 9 to support scholarships, programs and other opportunities at WVU.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of Natalie and Wes Bush,” said Tara Hulsey, Dean and E. Jane Martin Endowed Professor. “This scholarship and other contributions made during Day of Giving will help support our students as they pursue their purpose.”

The scholarship is named for Natalie Bush’s aunt, a lifelong resident of Lumberport who passed away Feb. 6, 2022. Bush said Ferrise was forced to change career paths at age 50, when she became a nurse’s assistant. She spent the next 20 years working for the Veteran’s Hospital in Clarksburg.

“She found her calling,” Bush said. “She loved what she did. She loved her patients. Even as a 90-plus-year-old lady who would go and visit Denny’s for lunch, invariably there would be some fellow that she had taken care of who picked up her lunch tab because they were so grateful for the care that she had given them.”

Bush hopes to carry on her aunt’s legacy through the scholarship, which also pays tribute to her own alma mater. Bush earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from WVU – in 1988 and 1990, respectively. Her working career focused on mental health issues with adolescents and women’s health. 

Along with her husband, Bush is a longtime supporter of the School and University. She currently serves as chair of the WVU School of Nursing Advisory Board and a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors. She is also co-chair of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Advisory Board, a member of the Inova Health Foundation Board and a trustee of The Potomac School. She continues to volunteer as a registered nurse at the Arlington Free Clinic.

The couple’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

Follow Us

Get social. Connect and Engage.