James Madison University

5K Hosted to Honor Late Professor

By: DIna Manco '16
Posted: May 4, 2016

On February 21, 2015, the School of Nursing lost professor and psychiatric health advocate Diane Babral, due to complications from chemotherapy. Her passing deeply affected nursing faculty and students, who are working to create a scholarship fund in Babral’s memory. Once fully endowed, the Babral Memorial Scholarship will assist an undergraduate student further pursue their education in psychiatric nursing. Vice President of the Nursing Student Association (NSA) Talia Startsman (’16) states, “Her passion for teaching was evident despite her illness, and she endeavored to teach and support students throughout the challenges her illness presented. Professor Babral was admired and respected for her passion for psychiatric nursing along with her integrity, compassion, and supportive demeanor.”

PHOTO: Nursing students and faculty

In order for JMU to endow the scholarship, it must accumulate $25,000 in donations within five years. On March 19, faculty and student organizations such as the local chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, NSA, and the Student Advisory Council collaborated to host a 5k with around 100 participants. Startsman comments the event took extensive planning. “I am certified in event management, so I organized a great deal of the event including booking the venue, obtaining approval signatures from safety officials and facility management, booking space for fundraising, and securing food and beverage donations from places in the community,” she says.  Startsman also said that the event required a tremendous amount of collaboration to successfully carry out, and she is grateful to everyone who came together to help make it happen."

The cold weather during the 5k did not hinder participants; the event raised $1,200.00, bringing the scholarship fund to $6,500.  Previous fundraisers included bake sales and t-shirt sales. Future events such as a Chipotle Proceeds Night are in the planning process.

PHOTO: racers in 5K

Startsman says, “The scholarship will support a junior or senior year nursing student who wishes to pursue psychiatric mental health nursing, a specialty much in need of excellent nurses and one which is facing a large shortage. This scholarship will hopefully make it possible for more people to walk in the footsteps of Professor Babral who had such a passion for helping to heal those suffering from mental illness.”

To achieve endowment, assistance from the JMU community is highly encouraged. Instructor Lisa Carmines states the scholarship’s endowment would present an opportunity to keep Babral’s legacy alive in the department. She comments, “We continue to seek donations from alumni. We are actively seeking additional support to have it up and running. Even a small amount can help; if every alumnus donated $25 that would make a huge difference.”   Make a donation