Gorman student named recipient of first Russell D. Holt Memorial Scholarship

New $10,000 scholarship established to honor former Meridian doctor


Dr. Russell D. Holt spent years practicing medicine and helping residents of Bosque County live better lives. Now, more than 50 years after his death in 1959 (at the young age of 49), the former country doctor and owner of the Holt Hospital in Meridian is still giving.

Judith Holt McNeill of Stephenville, the daughter of the longtime Bosque County physician, made sure of that on Feb. 2 when she presented Ranger College student Charlesy “Ally” Little with the inaugural Russell D. Holt Memorial Scholarship. The $10,000 scholarship was created to provide tuition assistance to all eligible students, with preference to those from Bosque County, entering the Vocational Nursing program at Ranger College’s Erath County campus.

It is also intended to honor Dr. Holt’s memory and extend his legacy by enabling motivated and worthy individuals to achieve a high-quality training in vocational nursing.

“I feel very proud that I could honor my father this way,” said McNeill. “He started the LVN program in Texas and spent a lot of time going down to Austin to the capitol trying to get it approved. He had a hospital in Meridian, Texas, and it was hard to find nurses in rural hospitals.”

Presenting check

“I’m very honored to be able to honor him this way,” she added. “I know he would be pleased because nursing was something he was passionate about.”

Little said the scholarship will definitely help her join the nursing field. A 2012 graduate of Gorman High School, the 21-year-old daughter of Shelly and Alan Little, said she plans to use the scholarship as a way to obtain an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) certification and, eventually, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tarleton State University.

“It is the biggest blessing I could have imagined,” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it. When I found out I got it, I was so shocked and grateful.”

Dr. Holt devoted his life to the practice of medicine and helping others, and he was centrally involved in the establishment of vocational nurse training in Texas. He was largely responsible for the founding of the Texas League of Vocational Nurses, and he was a principal figure in the passing of the Vocational Nursing licensing law in Texas in 1951. He was an original member of the State Board of Licensed Vocational Nurses, and he maintained an Accredited School of Vocational Nursing in Meridian at Holt Hospital, which he founded in 1938. He was also a charter member of The Private Clinics and Hospitals Association of Texas, and he served as the organization’s president in 1957.

At the time of his death, he was serving on the Texas Hospital Association and was chairman of the Committee on Nursing Care of the Private Clinics and Hospital Association of Texas.

President Dr. William J. Campion said he was thrilled Ranger College could play a part in helping honor Dr. Holt for his dedication to medicine and assist in the start of the career of additional healthcare workers through the scholarship.

“Dr. Holt was an amazing gentleman who championed healthcare in the area, as well as the entire state,” he said. “We are overjoyed to play a role in the establishment of a scholarship honoring him and helping those who would like to become nurses accomplish their dreams. I believe Dr. Holt would be pleased.”

Future students interested in applying for the Russell D. Holt Memorial Scholarship should contact the Student Services office at Ranger College Erath County Center as soon as possible by calling (254) 965-8875.

As part of the scholarship program, interested LVN students must meet several criteria to be eligible, including:

  • Academic excellence demonstrated by the content of the applicant transcript and GPA
  • Contributions to community and employment / service projects
  • Financial need demonstrated by the applicant Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from both:
  • A high school or college official familiar with the applicant’s academic performance and extracurricular activities
  • A person with first-hand knowledge regarding the applicant’s involvement in community service
  • Essay of 1,000 words or less from the applicant explaining his or her goals and intentions in pursuing a career in vocational nursing.

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