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Nancy B. Parker Donor Wall Recognizes Years of Hard Work

October 5, 2021

On Thursday, September 23, Blackhawk recognized campaign donors for the Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars program through the presentation of a donor wall in the Health Sciences Wing of BTC’s Central Campus. The program included remarks from leadership, leading donors, as well as stories from students impacted by the scholarship opportunity.

group of leading donors, college leadership, and student recipient in front of Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars donor wall

The Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars Program targets high-achieving students who have been admitted into the Blackhawk nursing program. The goal is to grow nursing students to fill shortages in Green and Rock Counties and retain talented people dedicated to improving the health of those who live in our communities. 

“The goals embedded within this scholarship aim to increase diversity within our nursing profession, to grow our nursing students to fill anticipated shortages in Rock and Green Counties, and to retain top talent in our local communities,” shared Lisa Hurda, Director of Advancement and Foundation.

The lead gift of the campaign was generously provided by the Parker Family Foundation in 2018. They issued a challenge for our communities to respond to the impending nursing shortage in Rock and Green Counties. Their vision and forethought set the groundwork for the campaign, providing a half million dollar donation contingent on the community coming together to provide the matching half million dollars. By December 2020, the BTC Foundation achieved this campaign goal.

Dr. Tracy Pierner, President of Blackhawk Technical College, welcomed stakeholders to the event by celebrating the ongoing relationships that have benefitted the college. He continued by praising the fact that this scholarship fund “will enable generations of new nurses to gain their education at Blackhawk. It will impact nearly every sector of our college region for generations to come.”

The technology, the know-how, the innovation, and the ingenuity of Blackhawk helps support a workforce that is ready to perform. Just last week, the Nursing Schools Almanac announced, once again, that BTC students are second to none. “Our graduates are ready,” Dr. Pierner said. “Our students regularly score 99-100% pass rates on their exams, and we have a 100% placement rate for graduates. Our nursing program ranks in the top five in our state consistently and in the top 5% in the country. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when a great team is supported by a supportive community – you.”

Throughout the pandemic, nursing instructors worked above and beyond to keep students safe while forging ahead on their instruction. They worked with manufacturers and programmers to provide learning opportunities with simulators remotely so that students could gain real-life experience treating adult, pediatric, and maternity patients while completing mandated training.

Students who are already benefiting from the work of the fund, shared their appreciation as well.  Dr. Pierner quoted one student who said, “I am honored to be one of the Nancy B. Parker scholarship recipients. I am the first in my family to attend college, and your generous support will allow me to continue this journey.” While a second was quoted, “thank you for your generosity. This scholarship has allowed me to focus more on my studies and less on the everyday things like working to pay bills or buy gas to get to clinicals.”

Lead donors of the Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars Program include the Parker Family Foundation, Mercyhealth, Hendricks Family Foundation, JP Cullen Foundation, Janesville Foundation, Beloit Health System, and Theodore W. Batterman Family Foundation. “Without the generosity of our community members and businesses to complete that match campaign, the BTC Foundation would not have been able to achieve such an incredible landmark. This fund will contribute to the success of our nursing students here at Blackhawk and thus improve the quality of life for us all,” Lisa Hurda shared.

Mark Cullen, Chairman of the Board of JP Cullen, shared how important CNAs were to his father, who required home care after a fall. “When JP passed away,” he said, “we donated to three memorials. One was the Badger Honor Flight to honor World War II veterans, the second was to the World War II Memorial in New Orleans, and the third was to the nursing program here because of all that the CNAs did for him. We wanted to help them continue with their education.”

“It’s true that our communities are better and stronger when we care for one another,” shared Lisa Furseth, Executive Director of Hendricks Family Foundation. “Now the real work is yours; we trust BTC to leverage these resources well to support the important work of caring for one another in the community.”

Lorena Hebble, former student and scholarship recipient, in front of donor wall

In addition to remarks from leading donors, we heard from Lorena Hebble, a former student who was also a Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholar Recipient. Lorena explained how the scholarship impacted her, “I worked as much as I could – and make ends meet until I was no longer able to work – until I had to choose between income and my nursing program. That was when the scholarship, such as the Nancy B. Parker Scholarship, played a role in my life. If it weren’t for these types of scholarships, I don’t believe I would be standing here today.”

The impact continues to show through the student perspective. Maria Hernandez, another nursing program graduate and scholarship recipient was quoted, “One piece of advice that I would give a potential BTC nursing student is this, your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. So keep going. Tough situations build strong character, and Blackhawk Technical College’s nursing program had some of the toughest courses I’ve ever taken. But in the end, getting told that I am one amazing nurse by my patient says to me, it was all worth it.”

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A recap of the event is available at the video below:

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