HCA Healthcare Scholars Program renamed in honor of Patricia Frist

Tennessean - Frist Gala 2

We are proud to honor the legacy of the late Patricia Frist – longtime Nashville philanthropist and wife of HCA Healthcare co-founder Tommy Frist Jr. – with the rename of the HCA Healthcare Scholars Program to the Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship.

The merit-based scholarships, established and funded by the HCA Healthcare Foundation, are given to support dependents of HCA Healthcare colleagues in pursuing post-secondary education. Since the scholarship’s establishment in 2019, 2,168 one-year scholarships totaling more than $7.5 million have been awarded to colleague dependents across our organization.

Now in its third year, the scholarship program offers merit-based higher education scholarships of up to $5,000 a year to eligible dependents of full- and part-time HCA Healthcare colleagues.

Philanthropist’s passion for education inspires the next generation

Patricia, who passed away January 5, 2021, was committed to enriching the lives of others. She worked alongside her husband to found HCA Healthcare in 1968, which now serves patients at 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Passionate about charitable, philanthropic and civic interests, Patricia was also a catalyst in the establishment of the HCA Healthcare Foundation in 1982. The Foundation has since become an anchor institution in the Nashville community – providing leadership, service and financial support to non-profit organizations.

“Patricia Frist always placed a great emphasis on increasing access to education for hardworking and talented students,” said Joanne Pulles, vice president of community engagement and president of the HCA Healthcare Foundation. “She was an inspiration to everyone she met and an active member in our community – the renaming of our program to the Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship allows HCA Healthcare to honor her legacy and equip the next generation with resources needed to pursue their careers.”

The Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship, established and funded by the HCA Healthcare Foundation to support dependents of HCA Healthcare colleagues in pursuing post-secondary education, offers scholarships of up to $5,000 for higher education expenses to eligible dependent children. Find more information about the application process here:

Patricia attended Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee, before attending Vanderbilt University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English and history, she married Dr. Frist Jr., whom she had met in high school when he was a football player and she a cheerleader, and taught English at schools in Nashville and St. Louis.

She was also an avid reader to her three children ꟷ Patricia, Thomas III and William ꟷ and eventually grandchildren (one of whom is now following in her grandmother’s footsteps and pursuing a teaching career).

Patricia was the first woman to serve on the board of SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, among other board memberships, and was a major contributor with her husband to Harvard Business School, Princeton’s Frist Campus Center, Cheekwood’s Frist Learning Center, Ensworth School, Harpeth Hall, Currey Ingram Academy and more. She was a recipient of the United Way’s Women’s Initiative Spirit of Giving Award, Cheekwood’s Swan Ball Swan Award and, along with her husband, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2003.

In addition, Patricia played a major role in the creation of the Frist Art Museum, United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, the Patricia Champion Frist Hall at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, the Dorothy Cate Frist Hall at Harpeth Hall School and the Frist Campus at Ensworth School, among others.

By renaming the HCA Healthcare Scholars Program to the Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship, the HCA Healthcare Foundation can further connect the program back to its collective mission and HCA Healthcare’s culture of lifelong learning.

Celebrating the first recipients of the Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship

This summer, a total of $2,006,000 will be given to 588 dependents of HCA Healthcare colleagues for the 2021-2022 school year. Meet three of this year’s scholarship recipients:

young female in nursing coat who is a scholarship recipient

Gabrielle Levon

Parent: Beth Levon, Nurse / Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals / Richmond, Va.

School: University of South Carolina

Major: Pharmacy

“When I learned that I was a scholarship recipient, I was extremely appreciative of both the HCA Healthcare Foundation for their generosity and my mother for being such a dedicated employee. As a result of receiving this scholarship, I can save up more money for school to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy after I receive my bachelor’s degree. HCA Healthcare has given me a solid foundation of knowledge and financial means that I am forever grateful for; I hope that I can find some way to continue this both as I enter grad school and perhaps as a mentor myself when I begin my career.”

young male in graduate cap and gown who is a scholarship recipient

Maroun Harb

Parent: Lisette Harb, Med-Surg Supervisor / Methodist Hospital Northeast / San Antonio, Texas

School: St. Mary’s University

Major: Finance/Risk Management and Actuarial Science

“When I learned that I was selected as a scholarship recipient, I felt very honored and privileged. In reading about the legacy that Patricia Frist left behind as a lifelong educator and philanthropist, her views resonated with me and I hope to continue my education with a spirit of hard work and a willingness to learn more. I am grateful for the support that this scholarship provides and will never forget its roots. Thank you!”

young female who is a scholarship recipient pictured with her parents

Kaelen Cunnyngham

Parent: Terry Cunnyngham, Supply Chain / MidAmerica Division / Overland Park, Kan.

School: University of Oklahoma

Major: Biology

“When I first found out I had received the scholarship, I was both excited and relieved. This upcoming semester I am enrolled in 19 credit hours. While this is a great opportunity for me to continue my path towards becoming a physician’s assistant, it is also very expensive. This scholarship will allow me to stay enrolled in all of my courses while lifting some of the financial stress. I am very grateful for this opportunity and for HCA Healthcare’s support of STEM students.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s scholarship recipients! Learn more about eligibility for the Patricia Frist Memorial Scholarship on the program website.

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About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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