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EIU Media Relations

Sarah Bush Lincoln Partners with EIU to Create “SBL Scholars Fund”


Sarah Bush Lincoln Scholars to receive full scholarships for 4-year EIU nursing degrees

(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University’s Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing will benefit from a substantial gift from Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center to help local students become skilled nurses to serve the region.

Six students will be named SBL Scholars beginning in the 2022-23 academic year. Those students will receive full scholarships to EIU’s four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree program, covering all direct campus costs including tuition, fees, textbooks, and room and board for on-campus students in the program. Each year, the grants will be renewable to continuing students in the program, with a new cohort beginning every year through 2029.

SBL Scholars will be selected from incoming, full-time, pre-Nursing majors at EIU graduating from high schools in a 10-county service area, including Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Moultrie, and Shelby counties. To be eligible, students must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.3, complete a special application process that includes interviews, and their applications also will be reviewed by a selection committee. SBL Scholars also will attend engaging programs hosted by The Gail & Richard Lumpkin School of Nursing and Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. The SBL Scholars will be required to maintain continuous, full-time enrollment in EIU’s Nursing curricular sequence.

“This is an amazing partnership and an invaluable benefit for our regional communities,” said Dr. Holly Farley, director of EIU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. “National Nursing shortages are having an incredible impact from big cities to rural communities, and partnerships like this provide tangible and beneficial outcomes for ambitious and deserving students while strengthening the health capabilities and capacities of our local medical centers. It truly is a win for our students, for the local health care industry, and for the regions our institutions both passionately serve. Many, many thanks to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, and to everyone at SBL for their support of this dynamic and consequential partnership.” 

Sarah Bush Lincoln President & CEO Jerry Esker added, “Our need for nurses grows each year and we know that if we can help local nursing students turn their dreams into realities, then we may have a better chance of recruiting them to care for people in their community. We are investing in our future with EIU’s help. We are incredibly grateful to Gail and Richard Lumpkin for the creation of its School of Nursing.”

EIU President David Glassman echoed Esker’s sentiment on the importance of investing in a shared future.

“Eastern Illinois University and Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center are mutually excited about the opportunity this partnership presents in supporting our community’s future skilled and devoted nurses,” Glassman said. “EIU deeply values its relationship with our SBL colleagues, and their collective insight into how EIU can best serve and support them in fulfilling their critical health mission here at home has been invaluable throughout this fantastic collaboration.”

Advertised as EIU Nursing’s “Premier” Academic Scholarship, students selected for the SBL Scholars program will have guaranteed acceptance into the clinical phase of the Nursing program. This scholarship program represents a true partnership between EIU and Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (SBLHC) as it combines EIU merit aid and need-based aid with the generous support of SBLHC to fully fund the educational costs for a select cohort of EIU Nursing students from admission to graduation. In addition, both organizations will invest in the personal and professional growth of the students in each cohort along the way.

More information about the SBL Scholars program will be released once additional details are finalized.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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