The University of Central Florida College of Nursing honored its 2012-2013 student scholarship donors and recipients at a luncheon Tuesday, March 26 at the UCF Fairwinds Alumni Center. The annual event gives students the opportunity to share their nursing school stories and personally thank donors for their support.

This year, the college awarded more than $115,000 in aid through 25 student scholarships. Senior nursing student Samuel Foarde of Ocoee, Fla. spoke on behalf of the 2012-2013 scholarship recipients and expressed his gratitude to the donors.

“They have committed themselves to the ideal that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and we do. It is because of you, that people like me can walk across the stage a changed person, and become the change I wish to see in this world.”

Donor Bob Lowke established the Jeanne Lowke Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Oncology Nursing students after his wife, Jeanne, passed away from ovarian cancer in late 2011. Jeanne, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000, was determined to help educate women about the often silent symptoms of the disease.

“During her fight, she helped establish the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida and worked tirelessly as a member of their board to raise awareness in the community. She also participated in special programs at UCF to educate nursing students about the disease,” Lowke said. “After her death, it seemed like a natural fit to continue her advocacy by establishing an endowed scholarship in her memory at the UCF College of Nursing.”

“Scholarship support is a critical component of providing high quality education for this community’s future nurse leaders,” said Jean D’Meza Leuner, founding dean and professor of the UCF College of Nursing. “Scholarships not only help alleviate the financial costs associated with higher education, but more importantly, they enable our nursing students to focus on their academic successes.”

Leuner said the college received 160 applications and the need for student scholarship support increases every year.

In appreciation of their generous support and to commemorate the university’s 50th anniversary, all 2012-2013 scholarship donors received a framed 9×12-inch watercolor painting of an orange blossom, the Florida state flower.

“As we celebrate the university and its 50-year history, we’re reflecting upon Central Florida’s orange grower industry, which has been vital to our economy,” said Katie Korkosz, director of development for the UCF College of Nursing. “Like the orange, the university has been an integral part of the community; forging community partnerships, fostering economic growth and providing leadership for a better future.”

Chosen for its medicinal properties, Florida oranges are often used in the treatment of skin conditions, colds and insomnia. The orange is rich in vitamin C and potassium, both of which are used to support the immune system.

“Nurses, similar to an orange blossom, ‘perfume’ wellness throughout the community and create an environment of healing,” Korkosz explained.

Each year, the college commissions a unique watercolor by local artist Daniel Tilstra as a thank you gift. Last year, donors received a red clover, also known for its medicinal properties.

“This small gift will soon turn into a beautiful art collection for donors who give over multiple years,” said Leuner. “We appreciate them very much.”

To support the college’s nursing scholarship fund, contact Katie Korkosz at [email protected] or call 407-823-1600.