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In This Issue

       

LaVerna Nygaard appreciated the role WSU played in her family’s life

LaVerna and David Nygaard are shown with one of the early recipients of their College of Health Professions Fellowship, as well as former Health Professions Dean Peter Cohen.
LaVerna and David Nygaard (left) are shown with one of the early recipients of their College of Health Professions Fellowship, as well as former Health Professions Dean Peter Cohen.

LaVerna and David Nygaard had been married for only a year when they were involved in a serious car accident that resulted in LaVerna being hospitalized for 89 days. Though the accident left her with various physical disabilities, her boundless optimism and love of life inspired all who met her.

Mrs. Nygaard, who shared her husband’s passion for and loyalty to Wichita State University, died Sept. 6 after several years of battling illness. She was 67.

In the fall of 1971, while Mrs. Nygaard was in the hospital recovering from her injuries, David made the difficult decision to carry on with his studies at WSU, where he was a sophomore. He later would credit university faculty and staff, particularly Ken Nichol, former associate dean of the College of Education, with providing him the support he needed to continue his education while helping to care for LaVerna, known to most people by her nickname, Bernie.

David went on to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education, and he and LaVerna showed their gratitude to Wichita State in subsequent years with generous financial gifts. They endowed the Nygaard Family College of Education Scholarship and the Nygaard Family College of Health Professions Fellowship. They also supported the WSU physical therapy department, the Rhatigan Student Center renovation and the All American Club, among other programs and projects.

Mrs. Nygaard attended Bethel College in Newton, Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., and also took classes at Wichita State. She was awarded an honorary degree in art from Bethel College for her service of helping people in need.

The Nygaards have two daughters, Nichole and Natalie, and five grandchildren. They were married 44 years, living in the Newton area.