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Kevin Michael Dodge was the epitome of a fighter. The Fairfax, Virginia native completed his first semester at the VCU School of Nursing and made the Dean’s List, despite being diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma the summer before he started.

“Kevin fought cancer with the same courage, optimism and quirky sense of humor that were the embodiment of his personality,” recalled his mother, Kathy Dodge.

During his illness, Kevin experienced lengthy stays at VCU Medical Center, where nurses quizzed him on medications, procedures and other materials once they found out he was in nursing school, said Kathy. His frequent hospital stays made it impossible for him to continue nursing school beyond one semester. Kevin passed away in February of 2005 after a two-year battle with cancer.

To honor Kevin and support the education of future nurses, his parents, Jim and Kathy Dodge, along with his sister Alisa, recently contributed a $26,000 gift to establish the Kevin Michael Dodge Memorial Scholarship at the VCU School of Nursing. The Dodges also made a $100,000 bequest in their estate plans to support this scholarship.

“Kevin’s EMT (emergency medical technician) training landed him in the busy ER of an inner-city hospital, where he fell in love with the hands-on, compassionate care of nursing,” said Kathy, noting what drew her son to a career in nursing. “Although Kevin’s nursing dream was cut short by cancer, we hope this scholarship will help other nursing students achieve their dreams.”

The scholarship will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student with financial need and will embrace the principles of diversity and inclusion within the School of Nursing.

“We’re very grateful that the Dodge family chose to honor their son in such a meaningful way,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean and professor, VCU School of Nursing. “This scholarship will make a difference each year for a student struggling to meet their financial obligations in pursuing a nursing degree.”

Kevin tried to make a difference for others during his brave fight. A year after he passed, his mother said she found a post he had made in a cancer forum, telling another cancer patient his philosophy for facing his fears.

‘When you feel discouraged, and you will at times, remember your family and how this is your time to show them the meaning of strength,’ he wrote. ‘It’s tough for us, but it’s tougher for them because they can only watch.  We need to be heroes for them.  They will see our bravery and grow stronger from it.’

If you’d like to support the Kevin Michael Dodge Memorial Scholarship, please visit  For more information about supporting or establishing scholarship funds and bequests, please contact Pamela Lowe, senior director of development, at (804) 827-0020 or

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Kevin Michael Dodge
Categories Alumni and Friends, Students
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