Alumnus Creates Nursing Scholarship to Honor Wife’s Lifetime of Care

Diana and Michael Berman when they were in the service

Diana and Michael Berman during their younger days in the service

A love of education and helping those who need help most are legacies that Michael (‘64, Industrial Arts) and Diana Berman are leaving behind through the newly created Michael and Diana Berman Memorial Nursing Scholarship.

The scholarship will be $2,000 annually to a student in the RN-to-BSN nursing program. Set to launch in Fall 2020, the program focuses on the needs of rural and tribal communities on the North Coast.

The scholarship was created in honor of Diana, who devoted her life to the field of nursing as a psychiatric nurse and educator. The idea of creating a scholarship in Diana’s memory started before her death in 1997. According to her daughter Kate Berman (the Bermans also have a son, Jason), as Diana became sicker during her battle with breast cancer, she began talking about how she would like to be remembered through the creation of a scholarship.

Her husband made sure that happened.. After learning that HSU was launching the new nursing program, he began creating a scholarship in his late wife’s memory, finalizing the scholarship a few months before his passing in September.

The Bermans placed a high value on education, recognizing the role that hard work and philanthropic support can have on a student’s success. It was due to Diana’s efforts as valedictorian in high school and the subsequent Weyerhauser Scholarship she received that aided her path to attending the University of Oregon in the 1960’s. She often pointed to that scholarship as being a key element that kickstarted her education and career trajectory, which included serving in the Navy and obtaining her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of California San Francisco.

Of her parents, Kate says, “They felt that people who wanted to do more, achieve more, and help people should have the means to do it.”

Kate describes her late mother as being someone who “could get in an elevator with someone, and, by the bottom floor, have their whole life story.” Her innate ability to connect with people made nursing, particularly in her specialty of psychiatric nursing, a natural fit. “It was just perfect for her,” Kate says.

Kate remembers her father being a champion of education, no matter what. His time at HSU was one that he valued greatly. For Michael, HSU was about more than just his education, as he developed life-long friendships.

The intent of the scholarship is to encourage students to help patients who are economically or socially disadvantaged. “The idea is that it will help inspire somebody to go in the direction of providing more care in those fields,” she says. “Maybe if you have less of a student loan burden or financial debt it will make you more able or more willing to go into outreach programs that don’t pay as well.”

To support the Michael and Diana Berman Memorial Nursing Scholarship or to learn more about supporting HSU nursing students, visit alumni.humboldt.edu/giving/berman-nursing-scholarship, or contact giving@humboldt.edu or 707-826-5200. To learn more about the RN-to-BSN nursing program at Humboldt, visit humboldt.edu/support-bsn.