Support for the Next Generation of Leaders 

Scholarship honors former CEO, provides funding Mary Greeley employees pursuing advanced degrees

In more than 12 years of service as the Chief Executive Officer at Mary Greeley Medical Center, Kimberly Russel provided committed leadership during a period of rapid growth. From the expansion of specialty care and outreach services to the recruitment of a larger and more diversified medical staff and work force, Russel and the leadership team at the time were instrumental in building the foundation for what the medical center is today. 

In the days after the announcement that she would leave Mary Greeley to assume the role of President and CEO of Bryan Health in Lincoln, Neb., in 2008, the Mary Greeley Auxiliary sought a unique way to honor her service and recognize her contributions to the medical center. The Auxiliary decided to endow a scholarship and offered Russel the opportunity to determine the focus of the award.

The former CEO chose to designate the scholarship to support employees of the medical center pursuing a masters or doctoral level degree.

It is named the Kimberly A. Russel Auxiliary Endowed Scholarship.

A Sense of Pride

Russel, who has retired from healthcare administration and now serves as a consultant, says the scholarship is a flattering way to be recognized.

“I am extremely proud to have my name associated with anything and everything related to Mary Greeley,” she says. “The twist on this scholarship is that it is dedicated to those pursuing graduate education. As such, it is helping those who are looking to serve in a leadership position. I love the idea of this scholarship supporting people who are dedicated to continuing their career growth and professional development in a way that will benefit the patients of Mary Greeley.”

This year’s recipient was Audra Lyman, RN, BSN, a home health nurse with Mary Greeley Home Care. She says the scholarship is helpful financially, but also represents something more.

“Mary Greeley is very good about having offerings that support their employees,” says Lyman, who is pursuing a Master’s in Health Administration with an emphasis in Leadership at Capella University. “The scholarship I received s is another example. I have decided that I want to continue my career at Mary Greeley and eventually move into a leadership position. This is helping me start down that path.” 

A Culture of Support

The scholarship has been awarded for more than a decade. Russel says as healthcare becomes increasingly complex, it is more and more important – especially in the wake of the pandemic – for those in leadership positions to have advanced education and training.

“In my opinion, the leadership of an organization makes all the difference,” she says. “And, frankly, COVID has hit the leadership ranks in healthcare very hard. Retirements are up across the industry and the stress of leading a healthcare organization is at an all-time high. We must make sure we are providing the next generation of leaders with the tools necessary to be successful.”

A commitment to supporting advanced education and training for staff has always been a part of the Mary Greeley mission. In addition to the scholarship named in Russel’s honor there are more than 10 others designed to provide varying levels of support to clinical and non-clinical staff members. Each of the scholarships was established and/or is funded by private gifts to the Mary Greeley Foundation. In addition to the privately funded scholarships, there is also a robust tuition assistance program that staff can tap into. And that’s not all.

“Mentoring is encouraged throughout the medical center,” says Lyman, who has worked at Mary Greeley since 2019. “In the Operating Room, I worked under a director who put a real emphasis on mentorship and had so much leadership experience to share. Now in Home Health, that strong leadership atmosphere is there as well. I feel like the leaders here want staff to be successful and to meet their goals and aspirations.”

A Humbling Honor

More than a decade removed from her service to Mary Greeley, Russel remains engaged in all that is happening at the medical center and has even made multiple contributions to the fund that carries her name. She says that when she receives a note of gratitude from a scholarship recipient it warms her heart and serves as a reminder of what a special place Mary Greeley is 

"I continue to be proud of MGMC,” Russel says, “its many accomplishments, terrific people, outstanding patient care and excellent service to the community."

“I love hearing about each and every one of the recipients and what school they’re attending, what their graduate program is and what their future plans are,” she continues. “I am proud of the way they are so dedicated to Mary Greeley, and I have a special empathy for these honorees who are working and going to school at the same time. It is a difficult thing to do and any way we can support them we should.”

To learn more about the breadth of scholarships available at Mary Greeley, visit

To make a gift in support of scholarships, visit

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