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An East Central University student who decided to change careers and go back to school has received a new scholarship honoring a former Ada businessman. Rachel Baker has been awarded a $2,000 J.D. Haney Nursing Scholarship for 2011-12.

The scholarship fund was established by Dr. Charles Barrick, a retired ECU professor who taught in the Industrial Education and Technology Department and the Education Department. Barrick said he met J.D. Haney when he moved to Ada in 1971 and valued his friendship. He decided to name the scholarship after the late café owner.

“They are a great family,” he said.

Barrick said the nursing profession had become important to him because of the care he received from nurses after surgeries. He met Baker a year ago at the Aldridge Coffee Shop when she waited on his table.

“We got to talking and she said she had a $500 scholarship for books but had taken out a huge loan for the rest of her school expenses,” Barrick said. “She now is in her senior year in the nursing program. That senior year is tough.”

Baker already had a business degree from the University of Oklahoma and worked seven years in Norman. She was an office administrator for the Norman Youth Habilitation Center but finally decided to join her family in the medical field. Her two sisters are nurses, and her mother, Dixie Tolbert, is the infectious diseases administrator at Pauls Valley General Hospital.

Barrick hopes the scholarship will encourage others to donate to the Haney Scholarship fund. For information, contact the ECU Foundation Inc. at 580-559-5514.

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