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Tragedy Inspires a Special Scholarship to USD Nursing

photo of Emily and Scott Ney and their son holding a photo of their infant daughter that passed away. Emily and Scott Ney established a scholarship for USD nursing students after their infant daughter passed away.

VERMILLION, S.D. – A Sheldon, Iowa, couple, impressed with the care and comfort they received when their infant daughter passed away in November, has established a scholarship for nursing students at the University of South Dakota.

Emily and Scott Ney were heartbroken about their baby but inspired by the compassionate, skilled nurses they met while at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

“The nurses there were truly incredible,” Emily told their local newspaper, the N’West Iowa REVIEW. “The nurses made our situation survivable. Truly, without their guidance and their help and their love, I think the experience would have been very different.”

The Neys were married in 2016 and have a two-year-old son. Emily is a first-grade teacher at East Elementary School in Sheldon and is a graduate of the USD.

“We have strong ties to USD; we love it,” Emily explained. “I lived with some girls in the nursing program, so I know how intense it is, and I know how competitive it is. The people in the program want to be nurses and are dedicated to the profession.”

The Neys hoped to establish a college fund for their daughter, but the opportunity to help nursing students at USD not only reflects their appreciation for USD’s nursing program, but it also offers them a measure of solace.

“As much as we’d like to pay for our daughter’s college education, that’s not possible, so we’d really like to pay it forward in hopes that a family like us will be able to receive comfort like we did,” Emily stated.

The Rowyn Ann Ney Memorial Nursing Scholarship will be annually awarded to one qualified USD nursing student starting with the fall semester of the 2019-20 academic year. 


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News