Building A Program and A Legacy

When Davina Gosnell first came to Kent State University in 1979, she planned to only stay for a few years to work with the founding dean of the nursing program, Linnea Henderson, whom she greatly admired. But the best laid plans do change, and Davina ended up as a faculty member at Kent State for 25 years, eventually being named dean of the College of Nursing herself.

“There were so many opportunities to do a lot of unique things,” says Davina. “We started a master’s program, then a doctoral program and expanded the nursing degrees at the regional campuses from two years to four. Those kinds of opportunities don’t come along too often.”

Her many years at Kent State enabled Davina to see and appreciate the great potential in the diverse range of students who study here.

“Kent is home to an array of students, but most are from working, middle class families who don’t always have the resources to put into an education,” she says. “Some have to work in addition to going to school. Some are married and have families, too. So, however we can provide the resources to help them, we need to do just that.”

Davina established the Dean Davina J. Gosnell Endowed Nursing Scholarship, which benefits students enrolled in clinical courses who can demonstrate both academic merit and financial need. Davina herself benefited from scholarships when she was a college student, so she understands how much they help.

“Those of us who have benefited from scholarships in our lives have the responsibility to pay it forward,” she says. “We’re obliged to do that when we have the means to do so.”

She has also designated the college in her estate plans.

Davina knows what a unique position faculty and staff are in to see the daily reality of what students go through to earn their education.

“Kent State, being a large public institution, is unique in the diversity of its student body, but it means that there are many students who struggle with the costs involved,” says Davina. “When we can provide the resources to help them, scholarships can’t do the whole job, but they sure do help. And you don’t have to be rich or famous to make a difference.”

You can make a difference in the future of Kent State students with a provision in your estate plan. Visit or call 330-672-1000 to learn how your deferred gift can help future students.

Read more about the impact of giving to Kent State.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 10:20 AM
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 18, 2024 04:50 PM
Deb McGuinness, '78