On November 8, the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing announced the establishment of the Knightingale Scholars Fund. This endowed fund will provide financial assistance to students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing programs.

The announcement was made at the college’s annual Knightingale Society Reception, held each fall to welcome its newest members. The Knightingale Society is a select group of generous supporters, made up of faculty, staff and community members, all of whom give annual donations of $1,000 or more to the College of Nursing.

“Thanks to the generous support of our members and their annual donations, we are able to endow this scholarship fund for our doctoral students,” said Jean D’Meza Leuner, dean of the College of Nursing. “These students are our future nurse scientists, researchers, and faculty members. Financial assistance for these students through the university is limited, so private support through generous supporters is crucial to their success.”

The scholarship will be available in the fall semester and students can apply online through the UCF College of Nursing website.

“This new scholarship will be tremendously beneficial to assist doctoral students obtain their educational and professional goals,” said Susan Quelly, a UCF College of Nursing Ph.D. student.

Founded in 2007, the society was established by the dean to recognize the college’s generous supporters. The organization was named in honor of Florence Nightingale, who is revered as the “mother of modern medicine.” Nightingale focused on caring for the person who is ill rather than the illness; and she reformed nursing education among other things. D’Meza Leuner explained, “Since the university mascot is the Knight – I thought it most fitting for nursing at UCF to be linked to her name with a ‘K.’”

Upon acceptance into the society, members receive a Knightingale nursing pin, a time honored tradition in nursing. The earliest ancestor of the pin dates back to the Maltese Cross, adopted by crusaders and worn on their tunics as a symbol of service. Over the centuries, variations of the crusader’s symbol were modified and became family coats of arms. By the Renaissance, guilds adopted coats of arms symbolizing masterful service to the community.

The most recent ancestor of the pin is the hospital badge of 100 years ago. It was given by the hospital’s school of nursing to identify their students as nurses educated to serve the health needs of society. It also aided in differentiating one nursing program from another. The tradition of pinning new nurse graduates continues in the form of a Professional Recognition Ceremony twice a year at UCF.

For more information on the Knightingale Society, please contact Katie Korkosz, development officer for the College of Nursing, at 407-823-1600.