Cleveland Clinic Akron General Names First Winner of Muriel L. Walker Nursing Scholarship

$2,000 award honors the first African American nurse employed at Akron General   

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Beth Hertz 330.590.7377

Akron: Cleveland Clinic Akron General and the Akron Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association have selected the first winner of a $2,000 scholarship to honor Muriel L. Walker, who was the first African American nurse employed at People’s Hospital, which later became Akron General.

Muriel L. Walker in 2017

The winner is Ariana Williamson, who has worked at Akron General as a nurse technician since July 2019. She plans to graduate in December from the University of Akron with a dual degree in nursing and Spanish.

“Getting two degrees has meant being in school five years,” Williamson said. “My scholarships all ended after four years, so this award is particularly helpful in allowing me to really focus on my final courses and licensure examination prep.”

Williamson, 23, who is also certified in Advanced Spanish for Health Professionals, experienced serious health problems when she was in 6th grade. Her deep appreciation for the excellent care she received at Cleveland Clinic led her to pursue a job in pediatric nursing within the Cleveland Clinic health system after graduation.

“We are pleased to honor the incredible legacy of Muriel L. Walker through this scholarship to Ariana, who is very active in our chapter,” said Deandreia Mayes, BSN, RN, NE-BC, a nurse manager at Akron General and president of the Akron chapter of the National Black Nurses Association.

Ariana Williamson

Mayes said the scholarship committee was impressed that so many of Williamson’s activities aligned with the organization’s goals. Williamson is president of UA’s Student Nurses Association, Secretary of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a Choose Ohio First STEM Scholar and president of the UA chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Williamson also serves as a peer mentor for the School of Nursing and STEM, and was the university’s homecoming queen in 2019.

The scholarship was created earlier this year to honor the legacy of Walker, a registered nurse who worked at Akron General from 1948 to 1992. In addition to being the first African American nurse at the hospital, Walker was also the first African American employee in any capacity. She served the hospital and the community in many ways, including being on the board of Edwin Shaw Memorial Hospital and Rehabilitation Center and the board of the Internal Brotherhood Home for Alcoholism Treatment. She was also active in politics, serving as a delegate to the 1976 and 1980 Democratic National Conventions. She passed away in 2017.

Any Akron General employee who self-identifies as a member of an underrepresented minority population and who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing (preferably in their junior or senior year) at an accredited nursing school is eligible for the scholarship.





About Cleveland Clinic Akron General
Cleveland Clinic Akron General is a nonprofit healthcare organization that has been improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves since 1914. Akron General is the hub for Cleveland Clinic’s Southern Region and includes a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center in downtown Akron; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group; three Health & Wellness Centers; Lodi Hospital; and Akron General Foundation. For more information, visit

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 66,000 employees are more than 4,200 salaried physicians and researchers and 16,600 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic’s health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals in northeast Ohio, more than 180 northern Ohio outpatient locations – including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers – and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2018, there were 7.9 million total outpatient visits, 238,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 220,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at and News and resources available at

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