Georgia Southern University

Two Nursing Students Awarded the St. Joseph’s/Candler Georgia Southern University Nightingale Scholarship


(L-R): Scott Lauretti, Chair of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations; Sherry Danello, SJ/C Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services; Jessica Hartzog; Retha Rowe; and Melissa Garno, Ed.D., R.N., Director, Georgia Southern University School of Nursing BSN program

Third-semester nursing student Retha Rowe and second-semester nursing student Jessica Hartzog, both in the College of Health and Human Sciences, have been awarded the St. Joseph’s/Candler Georgia Southern University Nightingale Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 each.

The scholarship was created by the St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations to honor the lives of five Georgia Southern nursing students who lost their lives in an April 2015 car accident. They were on their way to the last day of clinicals at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Thus, the scholarship is awarded to Georgia Southern nursing students who have completed a clinical rotation at St. Joseph’s/Candler.

Initially, the two students split a $3,000 scholarship because each was so qualified. But in a moving moment during a meeting today of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations Board of Trustees that Rowe and Hartzog attended, an anonymous donor pledged an additional $1,500 to each.

“Retha and Jessica not only embody the spirit of the nursing students we lost, but also the core values we hold at St. Joseph’s/Candler,” said Sherry Danello, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at St. Joseph’s/Candler. “We wanted to recognize those Georgia Southern students who touched us all in many ways. It is also important in our organization to support and grow the nursing leaders of tomorrow, and this scholarship achieves both those goals.”

To be chosen for the scholarship, the nursing students had to display an exemplary professional nursing practice, be Georgia Southern nursing students, maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete at least one rotation at St. Joseph’s/Candler.

“This scholarship is a wonderful opportunity to inspire young nurses now and in the future to give their all in their studies, and to spur us all to care for our patients in a self-sacrificial manner,” said Rowe. “As a recipient of this scholarship, I will always remember these young ladies and will strive to let their legacy live on through my nursing career.”

“It is such a bittersweet honor to hear that I have been awarded this special scholarship,” added Hartzog. “I am humbled and grateful to receive such an honor and carry on the legacy these five students embodied, and I will be forever thankful and strive for great things to honor their memory.”

St. Joseph’s/Candler is a 714-bed, Magnet-designated facility for nursing excellence, with a focus on the latest technologies and research. Its comprehensive network includes centers of excellence for oncology, cardiovascular, neurosciences, women’s and children’s services, orthopedics and a variety of other disease specialties. SJ/C’s Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion has been selected to be part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital is a not-for-profit health system serving 33 counties in southeast Georgia and the South Carolina Low Country and is the largest and only faith-based institution in the region. For more information, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving approximately 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.

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