Gannon University Professor David Gustafson Makes $1 Million Gift

David GustafsonPosted: April 27, 2015

David J. Gustafson, a biology professor, and alumnus of Gannon University, has made a $1 million gift to the University to establish the David J. Gustafson Biology Scholarship Endowment Fund, the David J. Gustafson Undergraduate Biology Student Research Endowment Fund and the Carolyn A. Gustafson Endowed Scholarship in Nursing. The nursing scholarship was established in honor of his sister who passed away in 2014.

Jack Sims, vice president for university advancement said, "This generous gift represents the largest such donation made by a faculty-staff member in the history of the University."

Gustafson earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Gannon in 1968, and his career with his alma mater covered the next 47 years. He began his teaching career as director and assistant professor of biology at Villa Maria College in 1971. He later came to Gannon serving in many roles over the years, including chairman of the university's biology department. He was the recipient of Distinguished Faculty Award in 1999 and the Bishop Persico "Veritas in Caritate" Award for exemplifying faith, hope and love both in and out of the Gannon community in 2014.

Gustafson said, "For over 50 years the Gustafson family has enjoyed supporting the mission of Gannon University and Villa Maria College, the learning experience and commitment to the Erie community. It has been a true blessing to witness the growth of so many individuals and to help them answer the question of 'how will they live their life?' My life has been blessed to provide a charitable contribution to help students who will touch and enrich the future lives of so many."

A native of Erie, Carolyn Gustafson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Villa Maria College in 1969. Throughout her distinguished career, Carolyn held several Nursing positions including director of nursing for the Summit County Health Department in Stow, Ohio; instructor of medical-surgical nursing, community nursing and gerontological nursing at Akron General Medical Center; head nurse for the medical-surgical units at Erie Osteopathic Hospital; and adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University and the University of Akron.

Carolynn Masters, Ph.D., RN, provost and vice president for academic affairs said of Carolyn Gustafson, "She was an accomplished, dedicated and compassionate nursing practitioner, educator and administrator, which we are proud to honor as we award this scholarship in perpetuity."

There are 234 endowed scholarships at Gannon providing $914,000 in scholarship support annually to 413 deserving students from diverse locations, backgrounds and financial circumstances. Ninety-seven percent of students at Gannon University received financial aid in the 2014-15 academic year. Endowed gifts to Gannon can also help fund faculty professional development, student and faculty research, speaker series, study-abroad programs, mission trips, academic departments, athletics or the Library.

For more information on the scholarship contact Tony Fulgenzio, executive director of philanthropy and communications at Gannon University, at 814-871-7786.