Forrest Family plans gift to support nursing students

Students who earn degrees in health care fields can make a big impact in their communities. Now, Betty Wall Forrest ’75 has announced a planned gift that will help UNC Greensboro Nursing students with financial need through the Betty Jo Wall Forrest and Hayes Womble Forrest Family Legacy Endowment Scholarship Fund.  

“I’ve always had a great respect for UNCG’s nursing program, and that’s one reason I wanted to establish this scholarship,” says Forrest, who recalls a rigorous, high-quality education. She worked as a public health nurse and then joined her husband, Hayes Womble Forrest, in business.

Hayes Forrest passed away in 2016. “We had always worked together and been together,” she says, noting that after this event, she became more involved in community service and philanthropy.

Why? “It makes the place I live a better place to be,” she explains. “It benefits people who need help.”

Forrest also notes that UNCG has a part to play in training the next health care professionals. “People come from all over the country, and sometimes all over the world, to go to North Carolina institutions for healthcare,” she says.

School of Nursing Dean Debra Barksdale agrees. “A well-educated nursing workforce is paramount to meeting the needs of our state. At UNCG, we prepare our students for the real world but also for the future world by instilling necessary skills, clinical judgment, and leadership.”

Both Betty and Hayes came from families that believe in giving back to the community. Forrest makes this gift partially in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Wall, and her husband’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Forrest, who were all local business owners.

After graduating from UNCG, Betty Forrest never lost her love for nursing and community health. She has remained a staunch advocate for nursing in North Carolina and this gift will continue that work. 

“We have awesome students who will have a profound impact on nursing and the lives of those that they provide healthcare for when they graduate,” says Dr. Debra Barksdale, dean of the UNCG School of Nursing. “It is the generosity of donors like Ms. Forrest that helps give our students a better chance at success.”

This gift is part of the Light the Way campaign, which seeks to raise $200 million to increase access, elevate academic excellence, and enhance the tremendous impact of UNCG’s programs.

To learn more about UNCG’s Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement, visit