Carthage raises over a quarter million dollars to support nursing education
Carthage has raised more than $250,000 to support nursing education through a broad fundraising initiative. Funds raised will provide scholarships, equipment, and transportation for Carthage nursing students, supporting them now and in the future in their clinical and other work. A portion of the funds raised will continue the Smeds Nursing Fellows program, which supports nursing fellows focusing on public health programs in the Kenosha area.
This fundraising success was inspired by contributions from Edward and Alice Smeds, both 1957 graduates of Carthage. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and in support of the long-term impact the College’s Nursing Program will have in the region, the Smeds made an initial contribution of $20,000 hoping to inspire others. It did that many times over.
Adding to the Smeds’ initial contribution, a number of leaders from Kenosha and the Carthage community pledged early support, adding more than $125,000. Building on that success and wishing to inspire even broader support, the Smeds increased their support. They issued a challenge for the College’s recent #GivingTuesdayNow campaign, which inspired an additional 40 contributions and ultimately brought the total raised in support of the nursing program to more than $250,000.
“Alice and I have always believed in the positive impact that Carthage could have,” Mr. Smeds said. “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 later this month. 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 degree program, which will be offered primarily online, welcomes its first students this fall.
The 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, many 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 have 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,” said Carthage President John Swallow. “His contributions continue to lead us toward meeting future needs in the healthcare of this region.”
Go to www.carthage.edu/givenow-nursing or call 262-551-5700 to add 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.