News & Updates

Building futures

The late Dr. Nelson A. Wright, Jr., a Bradley alumnus, often said he owed all the success in his life to Bradley. As a token of his appreciation, the Pekin doctor established the Dr. Nelson Wright Scholarship to give financial assistance to students interested in a career in medicine.

Left to right: Barbara Wright and Dr. Nelson "Pete" Wright III.

Establishing a scholarship fund was important to Dr. Wright. His hope was to give young adults the educational foundation he had as a young man so that they, too, could have successful careers. “Dad didn’t want to see children experience the poverty that children in Manito experienced in the early 1900s,” says Dr. Nelson “Pete” Wright III.

Dr. Wright came to the Bradley Academy, a private high school that was part of Bradley Polytechnic Institute, from his home high school in Manito. He graduated from the Academy in 1918 and began his college career at Bradley. A 1921 graduate, he then enrolled in medical school at St. Louis University.

He met Melba Rose Blank Wright ’25, his future wife, while at Bradley and they married soon after Dr. Wright finished medical school.

Dr. Wright enjoyed a long, successful career practicing medicine in Pekin and established a charitable foundation just before he died in 1995. His sons, Dr. Nelson “Pete” Wright III and Dr. Robert “Buck” Wright, are the trustees of the foundation.

Pete has a high regard for Bradley and considers it an important part of the their family and the community. “Over the years and decades, Bradley has become highly regarded for its scholastics. I’m glad it’s here.

“Dad was a very generous man; my mother, too. We give to Bradley because it meant so much to them,” Pete says. His father established the Melba B. Wright Scholarship, which goes to a student-athlete majoring in business, in memory of his wife.

When the Robert Michel Student Center was renovated in the late 1980s, Dr. Wright gave naming gifts; the ballroom foyer and second floor conference rooms are named in memory of his wife, and the Marty Theater is named in memory of Dr. Ralph and Marilda Wright Marty ’46, Dr. Wright’s brother-in-law and sister.

Michelle Haney ’11, Leann Murphy ’10, Nicholas Vaughn ’10, Benjamin Washburn ’10, and Tanner Weigand ’11, all cell and molecular biology majors, were the 2009-10 recipients of the Dr. Nelson Wright Scholarship.

Weigand, of Knoxville, Ill., was pleasantly surprised when he learned he received the Wright Scholarship for his junior year. “The scholarship covers the cost of books and some of my tuition. This way, I don’t have to work as many hours, which gives me more time to put toward classes. The scholarship helps with my academics and my finances.

“I’m extremely thankful that scholarships like this exist, and that philanthropic people like Dr. Wright have been so generous. It helps me out quite a bit.”