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Shirlee Esplin - Vila C. Allen Endowed Scholarship

Shirlee Esplin was among BYU College of Nursing graduates in the class of 1972. She worked as an RN at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Provo, Utah for a few months following graduation and then accepted a nursing position in Montana. En route to her new employment, she died as the result of a tragic automobile accident.

When the Class of 1972 assembled for their 10-year reunion, they paid tribute to their classmate by initiating an endowed scholarship in her name. Members of the class contributed to the fund, as did Shirelee's parents, Darlo and Grace Esplin.

Classmate Lois Lang, said, "We all loved Shirlee. She looked like Haley Mills, only with brown eyes. She was pretty, smart, and likeable. She seemed so ready to serve, to give, to live, to be, to do - and her life was snuffed out. We always mentioned it when we were together. We wanted to honor Shirlee, to remember her, to make her life count."

"We hoped the scholarship recipients would be somewhat like Shirlee - bright, with loads of personality," said Lang. "We were thrilled when we discovered that Shirlee's niece, Heidi Hafen, received the Shirlee Esplin Scholarship [2008]. This was fitting. Heidi has red hair and Shirlee always used to say that she wanted a cute little boy of her own with red hair!"

Mrs. Vila C. Allen of Salt Lake City, Utah provided the balance for the amount necessary to establish an endowed scholarship. As a young woman, she wished to become a nurse, but due to the death of her father, it was necessary to forego the opportunity and work to support her family. At age 85 her love of the nursing persisted, and she extended her support of the nursing program at Ricks College to include BYU College of Nursing scholarships. Her generosity continues to bless the lives of scholarship recipients.

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