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FPB Alum and WWII Pilot Gives $2 Million to Flight Nursing Program

Dorothy Ebersbach's Gift to Establish New Academic Center for Flight Nursing

Posted 12/07/11


Dorothy E. Ebersbach, '54 in 2009

UPDATE: Dorothy Ebersbach’s desire to help others stretched even further as the trustees of her estate announced a second $2 million commitment to support flight nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. The decision brings her total gifts to the school to $4.7 million. Read more.

A pioneering female aviator who served her country during World War II has made a gift to Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing — a gift that combine her love of flight and her dedication to nursing.

Alumna Dorothy E. Ebersbach (view her bio), who passed away Nov. 14, has pledged $2 million to establish the Dorothy Ebersbach Academic Center for Flight Nursing. The center will expand on the flight nursing program’s mission of training graduate-level nursing students to provide critical, on-site care during emergencies and transport to medical facilities.

“This generous gift will reinforce the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s status as a leader in flight nurse education and research,” says Mary E. Kerr, dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. “Dorothy Ebersbach was a true innovator, which makes her support for this cutting-edge program so appropriate.”


Ebersbach (far right) with fellow WASPs

Ebersbach, a Pomeroy, Ohio, native who was born Dec. 9, 1914, led an extraordinary life. In 1943, after earning her pilot’s license she applied to the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She was one of just more than 1,000 women selected to report for duty. These young women were the first trained to fly American military aircraft. They ran non-combat missions — ferrying new planes long distances from factories to military bases and testing newly overhauled aircraft, among other duties. Thirty-eight WASP fliers lost their lives while serving during the war.

The WASP was disbanded in 1944, but members were considered civilians rather than military personnel; they were not granted veteran status until the 1970s. In 2010, however, Ebersbach and her peers received the Congressional Gold Medal for their brave service.

At the time, Ebersbach said, “I was surprised. It was really a magnificent honor. It was more than I expected to receive.”

Read more.

Source: Case Western Reserve University

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