Ana Garcia was determined to break through the barriers that stood between her and a college education. The youngest of six children born to Mexican immigrants, her family moved to the United States seeking new opportunities. Working hard just to provide for their family, higher education was a luxury they could not afford.
While attending Bethany High School, Ana excelled in school and began to dream of her future.
“I remember asking my high school counselor how I could go to college,” Ana said. “From that point on, I was determined to make straight A’s. I knew I didn’t have room to fail.”
Little did Ana know, her great opportunity would arise from another woman who, decades earlier, had overcome challenges of her own.
Born in 1924, Ruth Mershon wasn’t expected to live past the age of two. Her physical impairments made it difficult to walk or even wear shoes. Through her own tenacity and the support of her family, she not only graduated college in 1945, but also went on to break through a glass ceiling in the medical profession by practicing anesthesiology for 45 years.
“Ruth’s determination helped her overcome many obstacles in life,” said niece Ginny Lawrence. “She believed strongly that hard work reaps rewards, and she wanted to help capable, hard-working students achieve their goals.”
Dr. Mershon died in 2000, and while she and Ana Garcia never met, she gave Ana and many other students an incredible opportunity. Dr. Mershon established the Ruth Mershon Scholarship at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Since 2000, the scholarship has helped nearly 100 students follow their dreams of going to college.
“This scholarship was life changing. It really validated all of my years of hard work,” said Ana, who is now a nurse practitioner serving families in southwest Oklahoma City. “As a child, I dreamed of working in medicine, and I’m honored to provide quality care for residents in the city I’ve always called home.”
Thanks to the generosity of donors like Ruth Mershon, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation offers more than 150 unique scholarship opportunities for students throughout the state each year. Contact us at 405/235-5603 to learn how you can create a life-changing opportunity through a scholarship fund.