Thomas N.P. Johnson III Establishes War Heroes’ Nursing Scholarships

The School is so pleased to announce the War Heroes’ Nursing Scholarships Fund, generously established by Thomas N.P. Johnson III to support five named merit scholarships for graduate or undergraduate nursing students at the UNC Chapel Hill. The inaugural recipients of these scholarships all participate in SON’s newly formed military student group.

Of his generosity Tom explains that he first understood the important contributions of nurses during his service as a Vietnam-era medic in the U.S. Air Force, an experience that would shape his later interest in supporting nursing education. The UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing is the fourth nursing school to benefit from his philanthropy. The new scholarships honor family members, high school classmates, friends, and military heroes who are meaningful to Tom.

BSN student LaTronda Coble is the A1C William Hart Pitsenbarger USAF MOH Nursing Merit Scholar. This scholarship is helping her focus fully on her nursing studies without worrying about financial challenges. Airman Pitsenbarger was a U.S. Air Force pararescue crewmember during the Vietnam War who was killed in action as he rescued and treated wounded soldiers. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

ABSN student Jennifer Tupper received the Flt. Lt. Parke Farr Smith Royal Air Force Nursing Merit Scholarship. She spent a decade in the Army National Guard working her way from Private First Class to First Lieutenant. This scholarship honors Tom’s uncle, who piloted numerous explorations and combat missions over Europe and North Africa as a U.S. pilot serving the Royal Air Force during World War II.

The Lt. James Alexander Smith III USNR DFC Nursing Merit Scholarship was awarded to graduate student Christin Heverly. She is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and wants to become a family nurse practitioner in the United States Army Nurse Corps. This scholarship honors Tom’s uncle who was killed in action while serving as a Naval Aviator in World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight during action against enemy forces.

Jason W. Crockett is the Hon. William Clarence Kluttz, Jr. ’68 Nursing Merit Scholar. This scholarship is named for Tom’s long-time friend and high school classmate. Jason served in Germany as a junior officer in an armored cavalry squadron. He is currently working toward a Family Nurse Practitioner MSN.

Doctoral student Sherita House received the Isaac Bates Grainger, Jr. ’41 & Isaac Bates Grainger III ’68 Nursing Merit Scholarship, which is named for Tom’s long-time friend and high school classmate as well as his father, who both attended UNC. Sherita, a critical care nurse in the U.S. Navy Reserves, says that Tom’s generosity has inspired her to help others and give back to the community.

Tom says that he hopes these scholarships can help relieve the stress of paying for a nursing education and help ensure that nurses receive the very best education possible.