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Swans sit on the snow covered grass at the pond on the Millersville University Campus January 30,2018.

Christmas came early this year for Millersville University.

The college on Monday announced it received its largest alumni gift ever — $3.5 million — from the estate of Liselotte R. Wehrheim, a 1974 Millersville graduate who died recently at the age of 103.

The money will fund scholarships for nursing students who have unusual or special circumstances, such as caring for a parent, child or spouse, through the new Liselotte R. Wehrheim Scholarship in Nursing Endowment, the college said.

University President Daniel Wubah said this gift was “a surprise that came at the right time.”

“This gift is an incredible expression of confidence in Millersville University’s mission to educate people from diverse backgrounds who then go on to become engaged citizens who give back to the community,” he said.

Wubah said the gift will help Millersville attract future nurses to Lancaster County and help fill in-demand health care jobs in the area.

Born in Germany, Wehrheim was wounded during World War II while serving as a military nurse in Poland and Russia. In 1955, she came to the United States to work as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department.

Wehrheim earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at age 59 and practiced as a nurse into her 90s. She was the oldest known living Millersville alum before she died.

“You’re never too old to learn,” Wehrheim told the university’s magazine, “Review,” in 2008. “That’s what Millersville taught me. It was a wonderful experience that I’d do right now if I could.”

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