Alumna bequeaths $1.8 million to College of Nursing

Vivian Ann Hotuiz passed away last September at the age of 94 in her retirement home, located in Tulsa, Okla. After carrying out her will, it was discovered the nursing graduate left the enormous sum of $1.8 million to her alma mater, Marquette University’s College of Nursing.

The donation is the largest gift ever received by the College of Nursing.

The gift comes at a time when the College of Nursing is preparing for its 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated during the 2010-’11 school year.

Hotuiz was the last remaining living member of her family. Her parents, two brothers and a sister predeceased her. She never married and had no children, leaving the College of Nursing as the sole beneficiary of her estate. It was decided 15 years before her death that the donation would go to Marquette.

The college was aware of the donation, but according to College of Nursing Dean Margaret Faut Callahan, they were “completely caught off guard” by the surprisingly vast amount handed to them by the alumna.

Hotuiz designated her bequest be used for scholarship purposes, but did not include specifics on which programs should receive the aid.

“This gives the college a great deal of flexibility,” Faut Callahan said. “We will be working with the Office of Student Financial Aid to assure that our most deserving students receive the benefit of this wonderful gift.”

The college hopes to use some of its funds as early as next semester. The ability to freely distribute the donation also allows the college to use the money for both graduate and undergraduate students.

“Her generosity will surely make a difference in many students’ lives and will help them begin their nursing careers,” Faut Callahan said.

Born in Edwardsville, Ill., Hotuiz enrolled at Marquette after previously taking classes at a St. Louis school.

Hotuiz began working at Wood Veterans Hospital, now known as the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, continuing her life-long profession as a nurse. She served as a nurse in the Navy during World War II, where she was based in the European Theatre.

“She was always a reserved person,” said sister-in-law Judith Quirk of Belleville, Ill. “Very efficient at what she did, but she was very nice once she got to know you. She also liked to get out and vacation and take bus tours, she wasn’t shy all the time.”

Quirk believes inheritance, along with frugality, played a part in Hotuiz’ accumulation of wealth.

Hotuiz moved to University Village, a senior living facility based in Tulsa, in 2001. She was also a member of the Tulsa chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.