Norfolk, VA - April 16, 2003 - Sentara Health Foundation recently received a $1.2 million endowment from the estate of Mrs. I.M. Baker, specifically dedicated to support the Sentara School of Health Professions. The endowment will be invested and the revenue used to fund scholarships for future nursing students, as well as special projects, at the School.
The Mary Peed Baker Nursing Scholarships, named in honor of Mrs. Baker's mother-in-law who worked as a nurse, will be available to students enrolling in Sentara School of Health Professions beginning in February 2004.
"Mrs. Baker was a dedicated advocate of the nursing profession," said Shelly Vinson, Director, Sentara School of Health Professions. "Because of her generosity, the School will be able to offer scholarships to students pursuing a nursing career. I'm delighted that we can continue the legacy of the Baker family's gift of community service."
Mary Peed Baker graduated from Retreat for the Sick, the forerunner to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, nursing school in 1897. The two-year program taught by physicians, began in 1892 and at that time was open to any female, 18 or older, with a grammar school education. The coursework was free, but students had to supply their own books and uniforms. Four students were in the first graduating class.
Mary Peed Baker's dedication to the nursing profession was passed on to her son and daughter-in-law and, through the years, the Baker family has donated more than $2 million to the Sentara School of Health Professions. Well-known throughout Hampton Roads for their generosity, the Bakers arranged to have their entire estate auctioned upon their deaths with the proceeds to go to charity. Isaac Baker died in 1995 and his wife, Sarah Baker died on November 1, 2002.
Established in July 1998, the mission of the Sentara Health Foundation is to further serve Sentara's not-for-profit mission by improving community health and quality of life by identifying and meeting health-related needs of the community.