Sick with what was later diagnosed as a rare autoimmune reaction, seven-year-old Petra was rushed by her parents to Seattle Children’s Hospital for emergency care in December of 2010. As the talented medical staff attended to the dehydrated and distressed child, one nurse noticed Petra’s WSU Cougars sweatshirt and commented that she, too, was a Coug. So were many of her colleagues.

Susan and Chris Marker share their Cougar spirit with their granddaughters, Anna and Petra.
Chris and Susan Marker with grand kids.

That comment demonstrates the strength of the extended WSU family. Throughout the long week Petra spent in the hospital, her grandparents, WSU alumni Chris (’64 Hotel & Rest. Mgmt., ’66 MBA) and Susan (’64 Ed.) Marker, were especially touched by the compassion and understanding of the WSU College of Nursing graduates. And in honor of the difference these nurses made during Petra’s health scare, the Markers decided to endow a scholarship at their alma mater.

Established in the fall of 2011, the Chris and Susan Marker Family Scholarship in Nursing Excellence honors the professionalism of WSU’s nursing graduates, and will help offset the cost of education for current and future nursing students. The first scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding nursing candidate for the 2012 academic year.

“Petra made it clear that she wanted to be in charge of her recovery,” said Allison Rider (’91 Bus. Admin.), Petra’s mother. “And although this took extra time and patience, the nurses involved her in all steps of her treatment and healing.” Petra was isolated during her stay, and benefited from the extra time and attention the nursing staff gave her by bringing her toys and movies, making origami room decorations, and visiting.

Today Petra is a happy, healthy nine-year-old, and her family’s appreciation for the WSU College of Nursing will live on.Her grandparents’ generous endowed gift will forever provide annual scholarships to help ensure that new generations of deserving nursing students will have the opportunity to impact the lives of many more families.

The Markers’ gift is a vital part of The Campaign for Washington State University—a shared commitment to raise $1 billion for WSU’s students, faculty, research, and programs while leveraging the University’s global impact.

Learn more about how your support of scholarships in the WSU College of Nursing can make a difference in health care throughout Washington and beyond by contacting Karen Malone at 509-324-7339 or