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Ata time when the nation’s overall unemployment rates are alarming, U.S. Department of Labor statistics show the demand for nurses continuing to climb.
For the UT College of Nursing, the boom presents a multitude of opportunities, as well as some challenges, says Dean Timothy Gaspar.
"With a nationwide nurse shortage, enrollment in the College is increasing so much that we’ve begun matriculating students three times a year to accommodate the growing interest,” Dr. Gaspar said.
Among the challenges, however, is that along with the enrollment increase comes a growing need for student financial aid. And as UT, like other institutions, faces its own financial challenges, donor gifts to support scholarships are critical.
Recalling her own experiences as a student and as an educator led Dr. Ruth Alteneder, UT nursing professor emerita and former associate dean, to provide for the nurses of the future.
While she was a University of Iowa student in the fifties, a scholarship of $75—a tidy sum at the time—made her first year of college possible. She eventually received her master’s degree and ultimately earned a doctorate in health education and education psychology from UT in 1991.
In 2001, Dr. Alteneder created a scholarship for UT nursing students having an interest in women’s health. She said her recollection of her own financial need as a student, as well as her teaching and administrative experience, showed her first-hand the importance of scholarships. “I know how many students truly need help,” she said.
Private support is particularly vital now, as federal funding has diminished, and workplaces have less aid available for employees, she noted.
The award was a boost both financially and emotionally for Ruth Rowland Alteneder Scholarship recipient Donna Malone. A nontraditional student who works for the Visiting Nurse Service, Mrs. Malone is earning her MSN with a concentration in the family nurse practitioner track.
“It was so nice to be recognized for my efforts, and very helpful financially,” she said. She added that scholarships have a domino effect, with past recipients often giving back later to create opportunities for future students. ”Having received a scholarship myself, I will definitely consider making my own gift some day.”
The Alteneder Scholarship has grown through the years, in part from gifts given in Dr. Alteneder’s honor by former students and colleagues. In addition, Dr. Alteneder has provided a substantial gift through her estate.
“Through my bequest, I can continue to provide aid so my family can see students achieve education and placement in this field,” she said.
Dr. Gaspar said that more donors are seeing the benefits of planned gifts such as bequests, annuities and life insurance, as well as gifts of appreciated securities. “In addition, many donors are giving back by honoring a special professor or healthcare provider with a gift in their name. It’s a fitting tribute,” he noted, “in a field that is exemplified by compassion.”
Tomake a gift to the Ruth Rowland Alteneder Scholarship or to create your own nursing scholarship through an outright or planned gift, contact Annie Sawicki at email@example.com or 419-530-5408.