February 17, 2020

A new program at Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation is preparing students to advance the well-being of our aging society.

That program, the Master of Science in aging, caught the attention of Dianne and Alan Perry, ASU graduates from the Class of 1974.  

The idea of elevating care to address the multidimensional aging process and the specific needs of older adults across disciplines was particularly appealing to the couple. 

Dianne, an alumna of the nursing program and longtime hospice nurse, has witnessed a disturbing trend when it comes to the treatment of older patients.

“You’re no longer acknowledged and what you say no longer has meaning when you get older in the current system,” she said. 

That, coupled with the very personal experience of seeing their own parents suffer in this system as a result of their age, moved the Perrys to start thinking of ways to help address this issue.

Alan, an alumnus of the engineering school, had his own successful career running a construction company. The couple, who met in high school, are both grateful for the education they received at ASU and, since they’re in a position to give back, they began exploring their options.

On a visit to Edson College, they learned more about the master's degree in aging and were impressed by the faculty expertise and the work already underway to tackle this issue. Then, they had the chance to meet some of the students and see their dedication to this work up close.

“I was blown away by the passion of the kids there who really want to change the world they live in, and I believe that they can do it," Dianne said. "That’s the kind of thing that we want to support.”

And so, in memory of their parents, the Dianne and Alan Perry Scholarship was created for students who enroll in the master's degree. 

With this generous endowment, the Perrys are the first donors to support this program, and they’re thrilled about it.

“We have to change the medical system, and ASU is focusing in that direction, to change medicine for the better and not leave this population behind,” said Dianne.

Students who meet the criteria for the scholarship will have a nursing background, financial need and a passion for working with the aging population, assisting them to live active and meaningful lives.

While they're taking the extraordinary step of endowing a scholarship, Dianne is quick to point out that giving to a collegiate program or issue you care about doesn’t have to be as grand to make an impact.

“Anybody can do this. You don’t have to donate at the level we did; we were blessed to be able to do that. Even if you have an extra $10 and you put it aside every month, in a couple of years you’ll have some cash to give. And if you feel very strongly about a cause or program, you need to participate in a monetary way because all of these things cost money. We would love for it not to be that way, but in reality it does and we have to be aware of that and financially support these efforts.” 

If you are interested in contributing to the Dianne and Alan Perry Scholarship or creating a scholarship for Edson College students, please contact kyle.e.gresenz@asu.edu.

Top photo: Alan and Dianne Perry, ASU Class of 1974, have endowed a new scholarship for the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation's Master of Science in aging program.

Amanda Goodman

Media relations officer , Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation

602-496-0983