School of Nursing Dean Deborah Chyun’s commitment to supporting students through philanthropy is personal as well as professional. A first-generation college graduate herself, Chyun is keenly aware of the financial struggles many nursing students face.
“My parents did not have the ability to send me to college, and I worked nights to put myself through my BSN program. I know the challenges that students face,” she says. “When I read their scholarship essays now, the need is so profound, and I just want to be able to give each and every one of them financial assistance.”
Chyun established the Dean Deborah A. Chyun and Evan J. Chyun Nursing Scholarship to help alleviate some of this need. She hopes her fund, in conjunction with other scholarships, will encourage more students to consider UConn.
“There is an urgent need for nurses and nursing faculty,” Chyun says. “I hope that the availability of increased scholarship support will encourage potential students to consider UConn and not take the long way around to getting a nursing degree.”
The scholarship also honors Chyun’s late son, Evan, who passed away tragically in 2022.
“When Evan was killed by an out-of-control driver last year, we looked for ways for him to be remembered, and my scholarship was one logical place,” Chyun says. “While he did not have to worry about financing his education, many of his high school classmates did and he saw firsthand how this affected their educational opportunities and decisions.”
According to Chyun, Evan—an outstanding student, hard worker, and social justice advocate—would be pleased by the naming.
“Evan was 16 when I finished my doctorate and was always my biggest supporter for seeking a deanship,” Chyun says. “I know he would be glad to partner with me in helping nurses at the start of their nursing careers.”
Chyun, who will conclude her deanship on July 31, says that she hopes her scholarship will inspire others to consider supporting the School in whatever ways they can.
“As nurses, most of us are not able to set up large endowments. However, modest amounts over time add up,” she says. “Think of our more than 8,000 alumni and what a yearly gift of $10 would do, or a $10 per week payroll deduction for faculty and staff. I’m a firm believer in ‘every little bit helps.’”