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News

Former trustee and wife hope to inspire support for Carthage nursing students

By Madeline VanGroll

April 24, 2020

Nursing Learning Laboratories Lentz HallIn response to the COVID-19 crisis and in support of the long-term impact the Carthage Nursing Program will have in the region, the College announces the formation of the Smeds Nursing Initiative to raise support for the program and its students. Funds raised through this initiative will provide scholarships, equipment, and transportation for Carthage nursing students, supporting them now and in the future in their clinical and other work.

Edward and Alice Smeds, both 1957 graduates of Carthage, began the Smeds Nursing Initiative because of their deep love for people in this time of crisis, their appreciation for the impact Carthage-educated nurses will have on the health of the region, and to inspire giving from others. Mr. Smeds is a former Carthage trustee and Board Chairman Emeritus.

The Smeds funded the initiative with an initial investment of $20,000 and have now issued a challenge for Carthage’s Giving Day 2020 on Tuesday, May 5 — held in conjunction with the global #GivingTuesdayNow. When contributions for the Giving Day 2020 campaign total $10,000, the Smeds will give an additional $50,000. That is a 5-1 match for every dollar raised for nursing during the campaign.

“Alice and I have always believed in the positive impact that Carthage can have,” says Mr. Smeds. “The Nursing Program connects the development of critical, humanistic thinking abilities that are integral to Carthage’s liberal arts foundations with practical outcomes that are making a difference in Kenosha and southeast Wisconsin.”

Carthage’s first class of 13 nursing students graduated in 2019. Nine of those nurses now work in either southeast Wisconsin or northern Illinois, and three work in other Midwestern states. All of these recent graduates are working in acute care settings on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. Forty-three new Carthage nurses will join them in May. Of these soon-to-be graduates, nearly 80 percent have already secured placements.

Responding to a shortage of nurses in the region identified more than five years ago, Carthage enrolled its first class of nursing majors in the fall of 2015. Since then, the program has grown into one of the College’s largest majors; more than 230 students are currently enrolled. This spring, Carthage announced an expansion to the program. The College’s new RN-to-BSN Program, which will be offered primarily online, welcomes its first students this fall. Carthage’s Nursing Program received initial accreditation in 2018, and the application to the Board of Nursing for final approval for the State of Wisconsin is now in process.

Edward SmedsThe Smeds have had a significant impact on Carthage. Mr. Smeds provided leadership as a trustee for more than 20 years and as chairman of the board for 14. He received the distinction of chairman emeritus in 2011. Thanks to the Smeds’ support of internships, scholarships, fellowships, and tennis, hundreds of students have had the opportunity to attend Carthage, gain real-world work experience, and hone their team and competitive skills. Their support and leadership has helped to build the infrastructure of nearly every building on campus today.

“For more than 60 years as both a student leader and an active, engaged alumnus, Ed has played a vital role in envisioning how Carthage could form future leaders and meet the needs of local businesses and institutions,” says Carthage President John Swallow. “With this gift and challenge, he continues to lead us toward meeting future needs in the healthcare of this region.”

Visit carthage.edu/givenow-nursing or call 262-551-5700 to give your support to the Smeds Nursing Initiative. Be sure to make note if you are making a gift in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Smeds.