nurse anesthesia

A charitable beneficiary designation from alumna Emily Lanning will provide scholarship support for students in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at the VCU College of Health Professions. Photo courtesy: The VCU College of Health Professions

Beneficiary Designation Powers Nurse Anesthesia Scholarship

When Emily Lanning reached the peak of her career as an intensive care unit nurse, she knew there was one more career goal she needed to knock out.

emily lanning
Emily Lanning

That’s why she came to the MCV Campus to study nurse anesthesia at the VCU College of Health Professions. The program is consistently ranked one of the best in the country, and her career journey is a common one for the most talented critical care nurses.

“Once you hit your peak in ICU care, you need somewhere to grow,” Lanning said. “Becoming a nurse anesthetist is a natural next step that helps prevent burnout while providing a new area to grow and succeed in your career.” 

Lanning graduated with a master’s degree and then joined the team at St. Mary’s Hospital. Since 2005, she has provided anesthesia and pain management support for a broad variety of surgeries across specialties. 

“I feel very fortunate to have the career I do,” Lanning said. “I feel challenged and fulfilled in this work every day, and it’s a lot of fun actually.”

Outside of trauma and transplant, Lanning sees almost everything in her work. She also has had the opportunity to welcome and mentor other Nurse Anesthesia graduates from the program.

“I’m just so grateful for the experiences I had there,” Lanning said. “The school gave me a great education, and it says something that I’ve been at the same place for almost 20 years. The professors and support were amazing — they really put their hearts and souls into the program and into helping each student succeed.”

That experience is why Lanning wanted to give back to the school to support the program that helped make possible this fulfilling chapter of her career. She recently updated her estate plans and took the opportunity to designate the MCV Foundation as a beneficiary of an insurance policy that will provide future support to create the Emily and David Lanning Scholarship in Nurse Anesthesia. 

“I knew that I couldn’t do anything big now, but that I would have the money later to be able to support a cause I care about,” Lanning said. “The process was really simple — all I had to do was complete a quick form to designate the foundation as the beneficiary of the insurance policy.”

Lanning said her hope is that this fund will support full-time nurse anesthesia students with dependents.

“I had classmates with children,” explained Lanning. “I was so impressed with how they handled the workload while also parenting children. Once I had my daughter, I knew how hard it must have been to balance parenting with the program, so I wanted to make it easier for someone who has children to pursue their career goals.

“There’s no better feeling than to be able to give back to my school and provide people with the opportunity and make it easier for future students.”

If you are interested in supporting scholarships in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at the VCU College of Health Professions, please contact T. Greg Prince, Ed.D., senior director of development at 804-828- 7247 or