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Founding Member of Nursing Program Endows Scholarship

Berniece Wagner played an integral role in the UW-Eau Claire nursing program's development during her 23 years on the faculty. Her devotion to UW-Eau Claire students and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is reflected in an estate gift of more than $200,000, which will endow a scholarship fund that will generate more than $9,000 annually for scholarships for nursing students. 

"Berniece Wagner's estate gift will assist many students into the future," said Debra Jansen, acting associate dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. "The scholarship fund will enable students to focus more on their studies, reducing their worries related to trying to afford the costs of their many books, laboratory supplies and tuition." 

Recipients of the scholarship must be admitted to the nursing program, have at least a B+ average and demonstrate good motivation and commitment to the nursing profession. Students will be able to apply for renewal of the scholarship annually for up to three years and one year of graduate study. 

"All of us in nursing at UW-Eau Claire have benefited from her work as one of our founding faculty members," Jansen said. "Through this gift her legacy will live on through the nursing students who are helped by it." 

Wagner,was one of the first faculty members in what was then the School of Nursing. She served as chair of the medical-surgical nursing department and as the school's assistant and associate dean for student affairs. Wagner was concerned about the country's shortage of nurses, compensation for their services, working conditions and professional advancement. She helped develop the degree-completion program (now known as the BSN@HOME program), the Marshfield site program and the master's of nursing degree for UW-Eau Claire. 

Before coming to UW-Eau Claire, she was an associate professor of nursing at the University of Kansas. During her career, she also was an instructor of nursing for the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa, head nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., a staff nurse at the Nebraska Psychiatric Center, Omaha, Neb., and director of nursing at Lutheran Community Hospital in Norfolk, Neb. 

Wagner was a member of many organizations, including the American Nurses Association, Wisconsin Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, Gerontological Society of America and American Association for the History of Nursing. 

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

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