Providing the Means to Change the World
Carol Hoefs didn’t have the means to pursue a nursing degree in the 1970s, but that didn’t stop her and her husband, Richard, from making a nursing career possible for Ashley Rupe ’19 and other recipients of the Carol and Richard Hoefs Nursing Scholarship at TCU.
Their generosity enabled Ashley, the first recipient of that scholarship, to take her place on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as an ER nurse at Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth.
For the Hoefses, funding TCU scholarships has become a charitable priority. In their estate plans, they have provided the means to eventually fund the Richard and Carol Hoefs Scholarship, a general scholarship that will benefit students across many majors, including nursing. “Creating a new scholarship from our estate will be a lasting legacy to our passion for education and provide support for TCU students forever,” Richard says.
For Ashley, the Hoefses have become like family and their investment in her education has made all the difference in the world. “There was no way that I could have afforded to go to TCU without taking out astronomical loans, unless I received the scholarships I did,” she explains. “Having scholarships allowed me to not have to work full-time and instead focus on school.
“While going into nursing at the beginning of a pandemic was something that no amount of schooling could have prepared me for, I do feel as though TCU gave me the personal skills to be able to handle the stress and adapt,” she adds. “Working in the pandemic has been something I never imagined, and some of the outcomes have been absolutely heartbreaking, but being a voice of reason and reassurance to someone going through a major struggle has made it rewarding.”
Ashley has kept in contact with her benefactors. Passionate about education, the Hoefses established scholarships at a private college in Georgia before deciding to explore other opportunities for giving. They didn’t have a previous connection to TCU but as they did their research, it emerged as a front-runner among universities that shared their values and vision.
“We made a due diligence visit to the campus, found TCU focused on building both knowledge and character, and decided to begin supporting the university,” Richard explains. “As we interacted more with TCU, we came to realize just how special it is and have continued our support.”
Since 2010, the Hoefses have established four endowed scholarships at TCU, including the nursing scholarship that honors Carol and her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. Another scholarship, Challenging Christian Youth, was created to honor Disciples of Christ ministers and help educate their children. The Doris Funk Memorial Ranch Management Scholarship honors Richard’s mother and her love of gardening. Most recently, they created the Carol Hoefs Medical Scholarship to support the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.
Richard worked for The Coca-Cola Company for 32 years, and the company’s generous matching gift program supports education, enabling the Hoefses to leverage their giving for a more significant impact.
The Hoefses have developed close relationships with their TCU scholarship recipients over the years, attending the annual Scholarship Dinner with them and meeting for lunch or football games. They even moved to Texas four years ago to provide more opportunities to interact with students. Their bond with Ashley is particularly strong.
“Watching her complete the nursing program and begin her career as a nurse has been a wonderful blessing to us,” Carol says. “Getting to know our scholarship recipients shows us that the future will be bright. It’s a joy for us to help these young people further their education.
“Our attendance at TCU donor events and interaction with faculty, staff and students has enriched our lives as we learn new things,” she adds. “Every person we have met at TCU gives us hope for a brighter future—both with the discoveries made at the university and the capabilities of the students.”
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