In Memory of Eleanor (Ellie) Thurston

The AMPATH partnership honors the memory and generous spirit of Eleanor (Ellie) Thurston who passed away on April 18 at the age of 89.

Mrs. Thurston gave her initial gift to the Indiana University-Kenya partnership (now AMPATH) in 1999 to honor her husband, Max. Mr. Thurston had come from limited financial means and had attained success as a result of his college and graduate studies which he was able to obtain with the help of scholarships. This led Mrs. Thurston to designate that her substantial gift to the partnership be given toward scholarships. She wanted to make it possible for others who came from financially limited means to have the same sort of opportunity that Max had been given.

Dr. Tal and Betsy Bosin, members of the AMPATH Development Board, traveled to Eldoret, Kenya and were present when the first 12 scholarships were awarded to two needy students in each of the 6 years of Moi University School of Medicine. Mrs. Bosin said, “What we witnessed that day in December changed the lives of these students for the better and ours for the better, too.”

Mrs. Thurston enjoyed meeting the visiting Kenyan medical students.

Mrs. Thurston enjoyed meeting the visiting Kenyan medical students.

Mrs. Thurston’s gift has grown from 12 original Thurston scholarships into what is now (with additional funds over the years) the Mwangaza scholarship program, funding 85 scholars and 40 work-study students. Funds are also available for emergencies and for food and sustenance for students who need support in those areas. The fund that Mrs. Thurston started has now become a multi-donor account at the IU Foundation and generates an annual income to fund these programs for needy, regular medical students at the medical school.

Professor Lukoye Atwoli, Dean of the Moi University School of Medicine, said, “We are grateful for the difference Eleanor’s philanthropy has made in the lives of our students, and for the additional support it has garnered that ensures that the programme continues in perpetuity.”

One of the Mwangaza scholarship recipients, Michael Musili, also discussed the impact that the scholarship had on his life and his appreciation for Mrs. Thurston’s gift during AMPATH’s Tusker Tales event in 2018.

The Bosins have continued to administer the scholarship program by following Ellie’s vision, example and compassion. Mrs. Thurston enjoyed meeting all of the visiting scholarship students and Kenyan guests and receiving scholarship updates after each of the Bosin’s trips to Eldoret.

Our condolences and gratitude are shared with Mrs. Thurston’s family.