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Travis family’s Vanderbilt legacy grows

By Kathy Rivers
February 2014

Hilliard and Nancy Travis

Hilliard and Nancy Travis

He was a successful, self-made businessman, and she was a pioneering nurse, but the many professional accomplishments of Nancy and Hilliard Travis were eclipsed only by their ongoing generosity to the community, especially their beloved Vanderbilt.

The most recent example is a generous gift to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing for student scholarships, and to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for ongoing research, both areas designated by the Travises themselves, through a bequest from their estate.

The gift not only gives permanence to their legacy and dedication to Vanderbilt, it provides a significant boost to scholarship support and research in children’s health, impacting students, patients, families and society on a global level.

“Mr. and Mrs. Travis have left an indelible mark on Vanderbilt and on Nashville, continually giving of their time and financial support throughout their lives and now as part of their legacy,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Lasting results of their generosity will provide for two noble missions: to train nursing leaders and to provide the funds necessary for our researchers to unravel the mysteries surrounding serious childhood diseases.”

The impact of prior Travis gifts to Vanderbilt include providing scholarships for 447 nursing students, bringing happiness and hope to the lives of children treated at Vanderbilt and endowing the Nancy and Hilliard Travis Chair in Nursing, which is currently held by Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., C.N.M., School of Nursing Dean Emerita.

“These two remarkable people are wonderful role models for us all. They never took anything for granted, never shied away from hard work and found much joy in helping others in so many ways. Until her death last year, Nancy supported and encouraged me personally, and she was always committed to helping curious, hardworking students get a nursing education,” Conway-Welch said.

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