Berry Family establishes Diane C. Berry Mentors Scholarship Fund

Dr. Diane Berry

To honor the life and legacy of a beloved wife, mother and mentor, Grant Berry and Rebeckah Berry have established the Diane C. Berry Mentors Scholarship to provide full support for a PhD student at the School of Nursing (SON), as well as the recipient’s faculty mentor.

“This gift is the perfect way to remember Diane,” said Nena Peragallo Montano DrPH, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing. “We are so grateful to Grant and Rebeckah. Their generosity will further Diane’s significant legacy as a nurse researcher, educator and mentor, and will help fill an area of critical need at the School of Nursing.”

Diane Berry, PhD, ANP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, Jane Sox Monroe Distinguished Professor in Nursing, passed away unexpectedly on March 24. Just a year earlier, she had received both the School of Nursing’s Tribute Award and Faculty Mentoring Award. She was devoted to graduate nursing education and future generations of nurse scholars, as well as the development of junior faculty at the School.

“I wanted to establish the Diane C. Berry Fund as soon as possible after her passing so that some of the people she mentored could be some of the first people considered for becoming Berry Scholars and Mentors,” said Diane’s husband, Grant Berry.

“I hope the fund will provide a continual stream of wonderful mentors that will help the SON continue to be the high-performing School that both students and faculty want to join.”

Grant Berry

Diane Berry was a talented nurse scientist with internationally recognized expertise in chronic illness prevention and management among individuals from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Although her work focused on management and prevention of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus using community-based research, she had a special passion for mentoring. “My mom believed the most important aspect of her work was her role as a mentor,” Rebeckah Berry said. “Every time our conversations landed on work, the thing that always caused her voice to resonate with joy was her mentees. I hope this fund will ensure that mentor-mentee relationships continue to be highlighted in the future efforts of the UNC School of Nursing.”

The gift will have major impact at the School of Nursing, said Cheryl Giscombé PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN, Associate Dean, PhD Division. The recipient will receive $25,000 per academic year, and the recipient’s mentor will receive $5,000 per academic year. “To receive full funding as a PhD student is significant,” Giscombé said. “This can change somebody’s life.”