July 26, 2018

For the last several years, Margaret Holyfield has been on a mission – honoring her longtime friend and nursing colleague Peggy Zotta.

“Peggy and I worked together at St. Luke’s side by side, mostly in the Newborn and the Special Care Nurseries,” said Holyfield. “She was a nurse’s nurse.  Someone you could count on.  Someone you would want taking care of those you loved the very most.”

In 2014, Zotta became terminally ill. Holyfield wanted to honor her memory after her passing.

“There is a lot more to nursing than the mechanics and knowledge base.  More even than human touch.  Maybe it’s compassion, an empathy that can enhance healing beyond the physical things we do.  I know it is essential in the very best of us, and Peggy had that gift, that art,” said Holyfield.

She and her husband Maurice Meslans set out to establish the Peggy Zotta Memorial Scholarship for nursing students.  They started their quest at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and they recently started working with the East Central College Foundation to bring the scholarship to even more students.

“Peggy was aware of the first scholarship before we lost her and was pleased to be honored,” said Holyfield.  “I think she’d be even more tickled about this one.  I’m excited about how many students may benefit!”

Holyfield will donate $40,000 annually to help students in need at East Central College.

“I want this scholarship to be part of her legacy,” explained Holyfield, “something to honor her, who she was, the lives she touched.  I am privileged to be able to help a deserving student – glad to be able to give back.  I never imagined, working all those years, that the money I had put aside for retirement would end up giving back to the profession that I love.”

The Peggy Zotta Memorial Scholarship at East Central College will be available for any student with great need but especially for those who often fall through the cracks or who have no other means for pursuing their goals. It will be available for the 2018-2019 school year.

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