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Family Surprises Lonny Ashworth with Endowed Scholarship at Respiratory Care Celebration

Respiratory Care Alumni Banquet, photo by Rogue Huitron

On Friday, Oct. 26, the Boise State Stueckle Sky Center Skyline Room filled with Boise State respiratory care alumni, faculty, staff, and friends in celebration of National Respiratory Care Week for the third Respiratory Care Alumni and Friends Celebration.

The celebration provided a forum to announce the new Lonny Ashworth Respiratory Care Endowed Scholarship, established and named in honor of long-time faculty member Lonny Ashworth, professor and director of research for the Department of Respiratory Care. The announcement came as a complete surprise to Lonny Ashworth, who received the honor as a gift from his family.

Lonny Ashworth’s son, Troy Ashworth was joined by his two sisters, Kerri Funderberg and Cheryl Unruh, his mother Vicky Ashworth and Lutana Haan, assistant dean for the College of Health Sciences and associate professor and chair for the Department of Respiratory Care, to present the scholarship at the celebration.

“My siblings and I have talked for quite awhile about how important Boise State and Respiratory Care students are to our dad and we’ve mentioned how great it would be to give him a retirement present,” said Troy Ashworth. “However, the problem is, he will never, ever, ever retire. Therefore, about a year and a half ago, my siblings and I came up with a plan to give him an early retirement present that he can enjoy while he continues to teach. We would like to present to him an endowed scholarship in his name, which thanks to many different donors, has grown to $112,700. Thank you for giving all of us kids a great example to look up to and we are very proud to have you as our dad. We love you.”


The presentation of the scholarship left Lonny Ashworth speechless and moved him to tears as he was astonished and humbled by the announcement.

Lonny Ashworth has been teaching at Boise State for more than 41 years as a member of the Department of Respiratory Care. He served as department chair for 17 years and has been instrumental in the growth of the Respiratory Care program on campus and establishment of the online degree advancement program, which has since grown to be the largest in the world. Throughout his career, Lonny Ashworth has received numerous teaching awards and was chosen as a fellow for the American Association of Respiratory Care.

Lonny Ashworth is well known for his teachings with mechanical ventilators and trips to Japan where he presents workshops, recruits students and works on several research projects. He makes these trips about one to two times a year, and has continued this practice for over 25 years, as respiratory care is not yet a recognized profession in Japan. Due to his work in Japan, Lonny Ashworth was additionally awarded the Koga Medal, an honor from the International Council for Respiratory Care that recognizes an individual who demonstrates a commitment to raising an international awareness of respiratory disease.

“The love Lonny’s kids have for him and his passions brought them to want to create this scholarship,” said Haan. “The dedication his family put into this award and the fact that his kids and other family and friends contributed to this award, is really special. It really is a tribute to a lifetime of work. The Lonny Ashworth Respiratory Care Endowed Scholarship will be the largest in the department and it will continue his legendary status for years to come. This will fund students far into the future who will continue to benefit from his caring, giving spirit.”

“This is one of the kindest gifts I’ve ever seen a family give,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “This will be a legacy that will carry long into the future. Lonny’s dedication to his students, to the department, to Boise State, and to the profession will be known for generations to come.”