RCW: Donor Spotlight 4.7
The University of Kansas has always been a special place for Donna Nyght of Shawnee, Kansas, both as a student as well as while she has served as the department chair of the Nurse Anesthesia Education program in the School of Health Professions. A loyal member of the Williams Education Fund since 2004, Nyght earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1977, Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia in 1993, as well as her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2010, all from KU.
Her decision to join the Williams Fund was due to, “Wanting to support our great athletic traditions. Part of being a great university is supporting athletic programs and keeping historic programs, such as men’s basketball, consistently as one of the best programs in the country. Also, I want to show support for ALL of the other sports as well!”
When asked about the opportunities that KU provided her with post-collegiately Nyght stated, “I am forever grateful to KU for the opportunities extended to me. Nurse anesthesia programs are especially difficult to enter due to the number of RNs who apply compared to the number of student programs and spots available. Because I attended the program at KU, the former chair, Dr. Carol Elliott, continued to recruit me as faculty and I returned to KUMC about 10 years after graduation. While in a faculty position, (the) KUMC School of Health Professions supported me as a Faculty Scholar and I earned my clinical doctorate degree. Working full-time as faculty and earning a doctorate degree is a daunting task and KUMC’s financial and time (one academic day per week during semesters) support enabled me to become a Department Chair. I am forever grateful to KU!”
Nyght also has multiple family ties to KU: her uncle, Bill Crabb, earned an engineering degree with use of the GI bill after WWII; while both of her children, Grace Mulcahy and John Dunlap, along with her son-in-law, Conor Mulcahy, are all KU alumni as well.
With all of the rich history that Nyght has experienced throughout her time as a Jayhawk, it was inevitable that she a favorite moment; however, she was unable to limit it to only one. “It has to be a tie: winning the (MBB) Oklahoma game in 3 OTs against Buddy Hield and coming back to beat West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse last year. I was in the Fieldhouse for both games. Other favorite memories include watching the 1988 and 2008 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championships on TV and football winning the Orange Bowl in 2008.”
Nyght explained that her favorite KU tradition is when the Rock Chalk Chant is done in Allen Fieldhouse. When asked if she could choose a favorite program out of the 18 Kansas Athletics sponsors, as well as an individual Jayhawk student-athlete, she responded, “Men’s basketball because Allen Fieldhouse is awesome and cannot be replicated by any new facility. All of the traditions: the chants, songs from the pep band, the tradition of our great basketball heritage (Naismith, Allen, the ‘Rules’ live on campus), Bill Self, our entire basketball history! (My) Favorite player was someone else until last year, but now it is Frank Mason III.”
Building off the previous question, Nyght was then asked what the University of Kansas means to her. She responded, “Opportunity, success, pride and great traditions.”
The final question of the interview called for Nyght to put on her coaching shoes and call upon her years of experience watching from the stands.The scenario: the football is on the 3-yard line and it’s fourth down. Your Jayhawks, in possession of the ball, are trailing by six (points) and there is only enough time for one final play. Are you passing or running the ball and why? As confident as can be, Nyght responded by taking it all the way back to 2008, when she firmly stated: “Passing; because of that great play from (Todd) Reesing to (Kerry) Meier against Missouri!”
Rock Chalk, Donna Nyght and thank you for being featured in this edition of Rock Chalk Weekly’s Donor Spotlight!
For more information on the Williams Education Fund, including tickets, parking, premium seating, facility projects and special events, please visit: WilliamsFund.com.