Remnants of a January rainstorm are evident as beads of fresh rain lay atop a newly planted bench outside of H-Wing of Fresno State’s McLane Hall building. It is the first few days of the spring semester and nursing students, adorning their crisp, royal blue scrubs, pass by the bench on their way to class. On the bench, which sits just underneath a bevy of billowing palm trees, is a gold plaque that bears the name of Molly Taylor Griffin – a 2014 School of Nursing graduate. Right underneath her name, it reads #LiveLikeMolly.
In May 2014, Griffin received some exciting news. She was officially hired on as a registered nurse in the operating room at Madera Community Hospital – the same place where she had done her undergraduate externship. Just four days later, she would graduate magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Fresno State.
In a graduation photo posted to her facebook page, the excitement she felt beamed from her friendly smile and emanated through her bright blue eyes.
Her passion for helping others made her the perfect nurse, said her mother, Doris Griffin. “My mom was a nurse, so when Molly decided to pursue nursing, I thought that was incredible. She was such a people person who just really wanted to help others. She loved her profession.”
On February 21, 2015, the School of Nursing alumna was tragically killed in a car accident just as her young, but promising, nursing career was taking flight. At just 23, she was a daughter, sister, friend, nurse, big time Giants and 49ers fan, and a beacon of light to those who knew her.
Soon after Griffin passed, Doris and her husband, Doug Griffin, created the Molly Taylor Griffin Nursing Honors Scholarship at Fresno State, with the intent of giving back to nursing students, who have a strong passion and dedication for the profession just as their daughter did.
“We really believe in education,” said Doris, who is the dean of students at Clovis Community College. “It’s also really important to Molly. We wanted to leave something for people to remember her and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it. We know how expensive education is and we were fortunate enough to be able to put Molly through college. I know that same opportunity is not afforded to everybody. Our real hope is that this scholarship will assist students to graduate from the nursing program so that they can do great things for the community.”
The scholarship is currently open to undergraduate nursing students, of junior or senior standing, who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater. Those admitted into the College of Health and Human Services Honors Program will have special preference.
Dr. Janine Spencer, an associate professor of the School of Nursing at Fresno State, remembers Griffin well. As an instructor for three of her courses, she got to know Griffin on a personal and academic level.
“Molly was a very insightful, excellent student,” said Spencer. “She really did have a passion for what she was doing. As a very sensitive and thoughtful person with a very positive attitude, she was well-suited for the profession of nursing.”
In one of Spencer’s service learning classes, Griffin reflected back on her time volunteering at the Central California Blood Center, as part of her senior project.
“Overall, this experience was positive because it gave me the opportunity to give back to the nursing program and assist first semester students just like I was when I began the program. It was also beneficial to develop new relationships with nursing students that I had not met and give advice about the challenges and excitement about the program.”
Griffin not only loved to help patients, but her fellow classmates as well. So it was only fitting that this past August, Griffin’s family and friends celebrated what would have been her 24th birthday by bringing to life the #LiveLikeMolly campaign. Through this campaign, they encouraged others to perform a random act of kindness and share it on the Molly Day facebook page.
Acts of kindness were a common occurrence for the compassionate nurse.
The response from the community was tremendous. From as far as Canada and throughout the U.S., people from all walks of life came together to share their random acts of kindness.
“I work at a high school and a P.E. teacher sent a kid up for not dressing out. I asked him why and he said he couldn’t afford the clothes, so I bought them for him. All in the name of Molly!”
“Today while I was at the Chicken Pie Shop in the Tower District I bought three young soldiers their lunch. It brought a smile to them.”
“My daughter wanted to find a family in honor of Molly Day and give them a gift card at Walmart for school supplies or anything they needed. She found a beautiful family!#LiveLikeMolly
It was the perfect way to remember Molly on her birthday, said Doris.
“Molly was just the greatest joy of my life, so that was a really difficult day,” said Doris. “But as the day went on and I read about all the acts of kindness, I actually felt joy again for the first time. People were just so thrilled – not just the receivers, but the people who did it. They felt so blessed by it.”
Now with the addition of the Molly Griffin Nursing Scholarship, even more students will be able to feel her impact and perhaps #LiveLikeMolly through their own promising nursing careers.
“We’re really excited about the scholarship,” said Doris. “It’s one of the greatest things we could do to honor Molly.”
Current undergraduate nursing students are encouraged to apply for the scholarship, which is open now through February 28. For details on the scholarship and to learn how to apply, please visit the LINK.
To make a gift toward the scholarship, please contact Dana Lucka at 559.278.3603 or contribute online at www.fresnostate.edu/advancement/giving/givenow.html. Mark “Other” and enter “Molly Taylor Griffin Scholarship.”