Donate Now

New Scholarship Created to Honor Jefferson County Residents

Pictured are Michael Alvarez (right) with his wife Dianne Rissler Alvarez (left)

The new Michael and Dianne Rissler Alvarez Scholarship for Nursing was established in memory of Michael “Mike” Alvarez and in honor of his wife, Dianne Rissler Alvarez. The scholarship will support students pursuing studies in the area of nursing.

Michael (Mike) Alvarez and Dianne Rissler Alvarez were both born and raised in Jefferson County, West Virginia and graduated from Charles Town High School. Throughout their 51 years of marriage, their love for their home county continued to grow. After retirement, Mike and Dianne enjoyed spending time with their grandkids and relaxing on their porch in the evenings, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.

Mike attended Shepherd College prior to joining the United States Navy, and remained an avid supporter of the Shepherd Rams. After an outstanding 48-year federal career, he retired from the National Park Service in 2019, receiving the highest award an interior employee can receive, the Department of Interior Superior Award. In addition to this, Mike was active in his local community. He volunteered with the Jefferson County Ambulance Authority for 17 years in several capacities, including secretary and treasurer. Dianne was also active in the community, and has held various positions working for the benefit of Jefferson County.

“Mike was the friendliest person,” explained his family. “He always had a smile on his face and was always greeting people.”

Mike and Dianne were thankful for the healthcare field. In addition to Mike’s time with the Jefferson County Ambulance Authority, both of their sons, Ryan and Chad, pursued careers in healthcare. Chad studied pharmacy in undergrad at West Virginia University and continued at Shenandoah University for graduate school. Ryan studied nursing at Shepherd University, graduating with the Class of 2002. The Michael and Dianne Rissler Alvarez Scholarship for Nursing will help to carry on the love Mike and Dianne have always held for Jefferson County and to uphold their unwavering support for healthcare and Shepherd University.

To learn more about creating a named fund through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact the Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397 or visit