On Friday, Oct. 26, the Boise State Stueckle Sky Center Skyline Room filled with Boise State respiratory care alumni, faculty, staff and friends for the third Respiratory Care Alumni and Friends Celebration.
The celebration, which coincided with National Respiratory Care Week, 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 Ashworth, who received the honor as a gift from his family.
Ashworth’s son, Troy Ashworth, presented the scholarship with 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.
“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. “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.”
Ashworth described feeling speechless and humbled by the gift.
Ashworth has taught 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 in the establishment of the online degree advancement program, which has since grown to be the largest in the world. Throughout his career, Ashworth has received numerous teaching awards and was chosen as a fellow for the American Association of Respiratory Care.
Ashworth is well known for his teachings with mechanical ventilators. He is also known for taking trips to Japan, where he presents workshops, recruits students and works on several research projects. He makes these trips several times per year for over 25 years, as respiratory care is not yet a recognized profession in Japan. Due to his work in Japan, Ashworth was awarded the Koga Medal, an honor from the International Council for Respiratory Care that recognizes individuals who demonstrate a commitment to raising 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 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. 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.”