Mimi Diffley Memorial Employee Scholarship
Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota is proud to offer an annual employee scholarship opportunity, thanks to the Mimi Diffley Memorial Scholarship Fund along with ongoing employee donations. This scholarship is available to current Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota employees working in the Bemidji region seeking to further their health care education and advance their health care careers.
Employees interested in applying for a scholarship must complete the application form. Applications will be reviewed by a volunteer scholarship committee.
For an application to be considered complete, it MUST be received on or before June 1 and include all of the following:
- One of the following documents verifying proof of enrollment
- Copy of recent transcript
- Letter of acceptance
- Copy of recent tuition bill
- Contact information for the school you will be attending and your student ID.
- If a scholarship is funded, the check will be made payable directly to the college or university.
- Two letters of recommendation
- Both MUST be signed by the referring person
- Both MUST be dated
- One MUST be from your supervisor and comments should specifically include:
- Overall character of applicant, accountability, respect, and teamwork
- Ability to complete tasks and achieve outcomes
- Applicant’s involvement at Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and the community to date
- Must be currently employed by Sanford Health and working in the Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota/Bemidji region.
- Employee is in good standing, with no current disciplinary action pending at Sanford Health or their academic institution.
- Employee must have a 2.0 grade point average or above.
Applicants are responsible for verifying that all necessary information is included in the application packet when it is submitted. The Foundation office is not responsible for tracking if letters of reference have or have not been submitted. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Who was Mimi Diffley?
Mimi was a 20+-year employee of Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and retired in 2005 due to advancing breast cancer. She passed away in August 2007, after outliving her initial diagnosis and surviving almost six years with the disease. Even when she lost her vision in 2006 from complications related to her cancer treatments, she never lost her spirit and positive attitude.
After Mimi’s death, her family partnered with the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota to establish this scholarship endowment fund. We established the fund to both provide scholarships to Sanford employees seeking to further their career in a health-related field and to honor Mimi.
Mimi was born April 6, 1943 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and graduated from Edina High School. She married Larry Diffley in 1966 and they moved to Los Angeles, California, where she started her nursing career. She attended the nursing program at El Camino College, earned her LPN license and then started working as a nurse at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital.
Mimi put her nursing career on hold when she and Larry moved to Bemidji in 1970 after co-purchasing Bemidji Aviation. She worked at Bemidji Aviation until 1977, when her third child was born. While raising her children, she commuted to and from Minneapolis to update her nursing license. She then started working at North Country Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. While balancing work and family, she furthered her education by attending Thief River College to earn her 2-year RN degree. She later attended Bemidji State University, where she achieved her goal of earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Mimi eventually transferred to the hospital's third floor rehabilitation unit, where she worked until her retirement.
Mimi loved her career in health care and caring for patients. She always took the extra time to make sure her patients were comfortable and content, even if that meant skipping breaks or working late to complete paperwork. She thoroughly enjoyed her work and also cherished the close friendships she developed with her colleagues.
Mimi had a zest for life and a great love of family and friends. She was caring, easy-going, funny and courageous and had a great laugh and a lot of love. She enjoyed singing in Sweet Adelines and the Bemidji Chorale, was a member of P.E.O. and co-founder of the Bemidji Breast Cancer Support group. She enjoyed golfing, playing tennis, cross-country skiing, travel, music, playing piano, the Minnesota Twins and vacationing in her Sun City, Arizona, vacation home. The center of Mimi’s life was her close-knit immediate and extended family.