“Our belief is that nurses … are the backbone of a hospital, even if doctors are considered the backbone of the hospital,” Stephen Reading says. He’s explaining why he and his wife, Agnes, donated $1 million to Washtenaw Community College to fund full-ride scholarships for nursing students.

Reading told WCC’s On the Record publication that he’s “been in the hospital a lot,” and that both he and his wife were moved by the nursing care they’ve received.

In an interview at their home off Geddes Rd., Reading emphasizes that they most want to help students juggling life and work obligations. “We picked WCC because we thought … that WCC students would be more financially distressed, and they’re older,” he says. “The idea is to get them into college when they might not have gone to college.” After reviewing applications, financial aid forms, and an interview with WCC’s director of nursing, a selection committee chose the first ten Reading Scholars in January.

Married forty years, with two grown children and four grandchildren, the Readings both have MBAs, his from MSU and hers from the U-M. They’re retired from ADMI, a business processes and analytics firm they founded that serves a global clientele of approximately 10,000 businesses in the automotive, trucking, fleet, and agricultural industries.

“WCC stood out as being a great opportunity … it’s a lovely facility,” Reading says. The scholarship covers tuition, textbooks, and equipment for three years at the community college and a fourth at EMU, where recipients will graduate with their B.S. in Nursing.