Why They Give

Dr. Ernest J. Grant ’15

“I’ve always wanted to make the way easier for those who come after me.”

Annie B. Grant always wanted to be a nurse, but she never had the opportunity. When her husband died, she found herself the sole parent raising seven children in a small town in the North Carolina mountains. Emotional and spiritual support from family and friends was plentiful, but there was little money for her children’s education.

Annie’s youngest son, Ernest J. Grant, became interested in a health care career in high school. His guidance counselor encouraged him to enroll in a community college Licensed Practical Nursing program, which began his long and illustrious career in nursing.

Working at the Jaycee Burn Center at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, Grant found his calling—to become a leader in burn prevention education and policy advocacy—which led to a BSN degree at North Carolina Central University and then a MSN degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

For more than 30 years, Grant has coordinated the nationally acclaimed burn prevention outreach programs at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill. He educates several thousand citizens each year, has received numerous awards, and even volunteered to care for burn patients during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

In 2015 Grant became the first African-American male to earn a doctorate degree in nursing from UNCG. That same year, in honor of his mother Annie, he established the Ernest J. Grant Endowed Scholarship in Nursing to provide support for multicultural male students with financial need seeking degrees in nursing.

“I’ve always wanted to make the way easier for those who come after me,” he said.

Grant believes it’s important to encourage young men to pursue careers in nursing. Only 3 to 10 percent of practicing nurses are male.

“I think the public needs to see more men in nursing, period,” said Grant. “A nurse is a nurse. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.”

True words from a son who has made his mother proud.


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor