HAMLET — Family and friends of the late Jo Ann McLaughlin recently gathered at the Cole Auditorium to establish a Richmond Community College scholarship in her memory.
The Jo Ann McLaughlin Memorial Scholarship was established by the McLaughlin-Bennett family to honor this former nurse who dedicated her life to helping others.
“Jo Ann’s compassionate heart made her an angel to her family, friends and so many others,” said Dr. Hal Shuler, associate vice president of development at RichmondCC. “With her angelic spirit in mind, her family hopes that this scholarship will inspire others entering into the Allied Health or nursing programs to strive to make a positive impact — just as she did to everyone around her.”
McLaughlin graduated from the Practical Nurse Education Program at Richmond Technical Institute (RTI) in 1972. She continued her education at RTI (as RichmondCC was formerly known) and earned an Associate Degree Nursing in 1980. She later graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“My mom worked in the medical field for 29 years touching the lives of everyone around her,” said Jo Ann’s daughter, Lori McLaughlin. “She helped each of her patients heal whether it was physically, mentally or spiritually. She meant so many different things to so many people.”
Lori is the administrative assistant for Career and Transfer Services at RichmondCC.
“Is it our hope that this scholarship will not only help students financially, but also help them understand that a caring smile and kind words can mean the world to a person in need,” Lori said. “We hope that the recipients of this scholarship will not only take the skills and knowledge that they learn from Richmond Community College, but will also take patience, compassion and kindness with them into the medical field where they can make a difference in someone’s life just as my mom did.”
To be eligible for the Jo Ann McLaughlin Memorial Scholarship, a student must be enrolled in Allied Health, Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing or any healthcare based program at RichmondCC.
Dr. Dale McInnis, president of RichmondCC, commended the family for their generosity and for setting an example for others to follow.
“This scholarship will impact students year after year, and it will serve as a reminder to someone that it’s time to give back,” McInnis said. “We hope this scholarship will trigger others to think about giving back in the form of a scholarship that will help others improve their lives through education.”
McInnis also invited the family to the Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Banquet, where donors get to meet face to face with scholarship recipients.
“When you see the gratitude of these students, that’s when you will feel the legacy of Mrs. McLaughlin for years to come,” McInnis added.
Wylie D. Bell is director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.