The SON hosted its annual Alumni Award and Donor Recognition Ceremony on a beautiful spring Saturday in April. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the School gathered in Chapel Hill to celebrate the achievements of colleagues and classmates, and to offer thanks for the generosity of donors who make critical professorships, scholarships, facility upgrades and much more possible for the School through the SON’s Foundation.
Interim Dean Donna Havens presided over the event, which included a welcome by president of the SON Foundation, Bill Self, and remarks by alumna Susan Ruppalt Lantz BSN ’73, who established the Ruppalt Endowed Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship in 2013.
Susan left no dry eyes in the room as she spoke passionately about her desire to help undergraduate nursing students facing challenges similar to those she faced as a single mother attending nursing school. Without money to buy books or enough food to feed both her infant daughter and herself, Susan attended study groups for access to books and ate leftovers from her classmates to save what little money she had to feed her daughter. She hasn’t forgotten the scholarship that allowed her to attend school, nor the emergency loan she was provided through the School to see her through her toughest financial straights.
The Ruppalt Scholarship offers Susan a means of honoring her family as well as paying forward the help she received to current and future students at the SON who are single parents. “I’m not rich,” Lantz said, “but I’m no longer struggling for food.” To complete her endowment, Susan contributes $100 a week to the SON Foundation.
Following Susan’s remarks, the SON Alumni Association presented its annual Alumni Awards to four deserving recipients: Peggy Wade, BSN ’63, Nora Warshawski, PhD ’11, Ernie Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Connie Parker, BSN ’65. Susan Andrews, BSN ’87, president of the SON Alumni Association presided, with the 2015-16 Alumni Association Awards Committee consisting of Carol Marriott ’95, Wes Scercy ’12, Laura Piver ’64 and Debbie Weaver ’04 close at hand.
Final remarks were given by the J. Thomas Fox and Landon Fox Undergraduate Nursing Merit Scholar, Christa Lauffenburger, member of the BSN Class of 2016.
Our thanks to all of our donors, alumni and friends for their service to the School, the profession of nursing, and our communities! It was a wonderful day!