Cookeville pharmacist honors mother, helps TTU

Cookeville and Sparta pharmacist Alan Tatum has found a way to honor his mother and help Tennessee Tech University nursing majors from White County both at the same time.

He's created an annual scholarship endowment.

"My mother, Anne, had always been interested in nursing and wanted to be a registered nurse — but she didn't start college herself until she'd first sent the last of her six children off to college," said Alan, who taught pharmacology classes at TTU for 14 years and whose daughter Jennifer now teaches them.

In addition to the non-traditional student stress of trying to juggle family and school obligations, however, Anne Tatum also cared for her bedfast mother and helped rear a grandchild while she worked to earn her degree.

"It was a difficult experience, but one that I endured," she said.

Alan added that he found inspiration in his mother's perseverance.

"My mother was an inspiration to me. Anytime I encountered troubles during pharmacy school, they always seemed miniscule compared to my mother's situation," he said. "I thought that if she can do what she's doing to earn a nursing degree, then there's no doubt I can make it through pharmacy school."

The first TTU Anne Tatum Nursing Scholarship was awarded last year to Brandi Guy, and this year's honor was given to Jeanne Simpson.

The scholarship's criteria mandates that it be awarded to a rising senior nursing major from White County, and if more than one student is eligible, then it will be awarded to the applicant with the highest grade-point average in pharmacology.

"Being able to overcome adversity and earn my degree in spite of everything — and then to have a scholarship named in my honor — makes me feel really humble," Anne Tatum said.

For more information about the Tatum scholarship and other TTU nursing scholarships, call the School of Nursing at 372-3203.

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