California man’s bequest will support CU nursing scholarships

By Staff

An estate gift from Laguna Beach, Calif., resident J. Thomas (“Tommy”) Swanson will provide several scholarships in perpetuity for CU Denver nursing students, honoring his late wife who had CU ties and had logged more than 23,000 volunteer hours at a California hospital.

The Margery B. Swanson Scholarship Fund has been established with proceeds from the liquidation of his home, CU’s share of which is valued at more than $1 million. The bequest, received through the University of Colorado Foundation, is one of the largest scholarship gifts the CU College of Nursing has ever received.

Preference will be given to students pursuing advanced practice nurse practitioner, nurse midwife and clinical nurse specialist tracks. More of these advanced practitioners are needed to meet goals of health care changes today, outlined in a recent Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing, according to Patricia Moritz, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor and dean of the College of Nursing.

“This bequest should help APN students complete their programs sooner and with less debt. These nurses are crucial to the provision of health care delivery in Colorado, and to filling clinical faculty roles,” Moritz said.

Tommy Swanson died in 2011 at age 99 and his wife, Margery, whom he met while they lived in Colorado in the 1930s, died in 1976. Margery attended CU-Boulder before moving with Tommy to California. The Swansons had no subsequent CU affiliation until Tommy, a successful investor, contacted CU years after Margery’s death to recognize her lifelong interest in nursing, in a region where she had historical ties. Margery’s mother was a principal stockholder in the Climax mine above Leadville, which once supplied 75 percent of the world’s molybdenum.

Planned gifts such as this are a powerful way for donors to maximize their long-term impact on programs throughout the University of Colorado. For information on how you can make a planned gift, contact 303-541-1335 or visit


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