Bonzella Burgess Cook’s Bequest to Nursing Program

Bonzella was a precious person, friend, and nurse.  She is sorely missed by all whose lives she touched, especially the students who learned the art and practice of nursing from a KGH-trained professional.

Bonzella Burgess Cook’s scholarship bequest is presented to TCAT representatives by her step-daughter, Kathy Mackey, RN, BSN (2nd from right)

TCAT Recipient of $80,000 Scholarship Fund Donation

The Crossville Chronicle — Aug 17, 2021

Bonzella Burgess’ Senior Photo, KGH, 1955

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Crossville recently received an $80,000 donation to its scholarship fund from the estate of Bonzella Cook, who served as the director of nursing at the school when she retired in 1998.

The gift is the largest donation from an individual in the school’s history.

Cook was born in Winesap, TN, and graduated from Bledsoe County High School in 1952. She attended Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing from 1952-1955.

After becoming a nurse, she continued her training and gained experience in “premature nursing,” emergency room nursing and obstetrics. She later returned to Crossville and worked at Cumberland Medical Center.

While working at CMC, she was selected to teach nursing classes in Celina, TN, for 18 months. There, she discovered a love for teaching.

Cook began teaching at the newly constructed Crossville State Area Vocational Technical School — the predecessor of TCAT at Crossville — in 1967. Later, she was promoted to director of nursing, the position she held until her retirement. She was the first and longest-serving director of nursing for TCAT Crossville.

“Mrs. Cook was a strong leader, instructor and always demanded professionalism from her staff and students. She changed the life of many during her time here. With this scholarship, she will continue to change lives for years to come,” said Cliff Wightman, TCAT president.

Cook was an advocate for education and known for mentoring and tutoring countless students. She had the ability to know how much more a student could push themselves even when they did not. Her goal was to provide the absolute best training and preparation. She was immensely proud of her students and encouraged them to continue their education.

The donation will support scholarships for nursing students to cover program and testing fees.


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