Alumna Establishes Bartos and Henderson Endowed Scholarship Fund to Assist Nursing Students Raising Children

Bonnie Bartos, RN, BSN ’79, MS ’87, LFACHE 2016, dreamed of becoming a nurse from an early age. Reading the complete series of “Cherry Ames” nursing novels, along with every other nursing book she could find during her childhood, she hoped one day to be at the bedside. After beginning her nursing education at another institution, life intervened and Bonnie’s full attention switched to a new marriage and the family that followed. Years later, and still eager to realize her dream of becoming a nurse, she decided to continue her education. Unfortunately, she found nursing schools to be less than accommodating to a married woman with three children. After hearing that Kent State University had a new nursing program, Bonnie decided to reach out. To her surprise, the voice on the other end of the phone was the Dean of (what was then) the School of Nursing, Dr. Linnea Henderson.

“I made a cold call and Dean Henderson herself answered…and she then spent over an hour with me. She was so warm and encouraging. She pointed out that parents with children received preference on clinical assignments to help make it convenient for them and their families. I was delighted. Come September, I put my youngest on the bus for kindergarten, and that same day headed to my first class at Kent.” This fateful interaction with Dean Henderson proved to be hugely important in Bonnie’s life. “Kent State made everything else in the rest of my life possible. My fondest memory from this time is of my association with Dean Henderson. She was my advisor, friend, and a personal cheering section during my time at Kent.”

Bonnie enjoyed an amazing nursing career that began as a bedside nurse and grew to include positions as nurse manager, surgical supervisor, vice president of nursing, hospital executive VP, and a Lifetime Fellowship in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Bonnie was an early advocate for integrating electronic health records into nursing care. When offered an opportunity to lead teams implementing EHR, she enthusiastically accepted and ended up working on-site with hospitals and health systems across the United States.

Bonnie has decided to give back by creating the “Bartos and Henderson Endowed Scholarship Fund” to help nursing students who also are raising children. When asked what inspired her to create this scholarship Bonnie said, “One quarter I nearly had to drop out because money for the tuition was so tight. I looked for all the financial help I could, without success. There were scholarships available for new high school graduates, but there was no financial help for a mother with a family. I had nearly given up until I learned I could make divided tuition payments.  Without that, I would have fallen a whole year behind my plan to graduate.” The “Bartos and Henderson Endowed Scholarship Fund” will act as an outstretched hand offering financial support for our nursing students who are also raising children. Flashes taking care of flashes and paying it forward.

Now, many years after that fateful phone call with Dean Henderson, Bonnie’s advice to students facing a similar journey would be “Hold onto your dream; work hard to achieve your goals. Recognize the sacrifices others may be making to help you achieve success and don’t let them down.  Most important: believe in yourself!”

You can make a difference in the future of Kent State students with the creation of an endowed scholarship. Contact Corey Hukill at or 330-672-8753 to learn how.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 3:04pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 2:28pm
Corey Hukill