A Gift in Memory: Instilling a Passion for Patient Care
Earl DeLong, a 1948 graduate of Findlay College, says that on his first date with his late wife Gladys, he took her dancing. “She liked to dance,” DeLong explained, “but she was used to leading.” Gladys DeLong found many ways to act as a leader in her life, from her career as nurse, to her work as a volunteer, and even making all the travel plans for both of them. It was her nursing background that inspired Earl to honor her memory with a scholarship for nursing students at the University of Findlay.
As a nurse, Gladys DeLong knew how to get things done. “She was very forceful,” Earl said. “She knew what to do and how to do it.” For 13 years, she worked as a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital in Tiffin and then spent 17 years at the state hospital now known as Tiffin Developmental Center. DeLong explained that the doctors there relied on her to assist in decisions about patient care. As a nurse she often spent more time with the patients than the doctors and had the training and knowledge to make sure patients received the attention they needed. Like many nurses at that time, Gladys first became a nurse during World War II. She served in the Navy Nurse Corps and was recognized for her service at the dedication of the Women in Military Service For America Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1997. After she retired, Gladys continued to work as a volunteer at Mercy Hospital and the Bloodmobile as well as the YMCA and Ritz Theatre in Tiffin, Ohio.
When Jaclyn Schalk, director of gift planning at UF, told Earl about Findlay’s nursing program, established in 2014, he knew he’d found a way to honor Gladys’ memory. He created the Gladys L. DeLong Memorial Nursing Scholarship through immediate gifts of stock and a charitable gift annuity (CGA). Having made gifts through CGAs in the past, Earl knew that he wanted to receive annuity payments during his lifetime, but he wanted to ensure students in the Nursing Program would benefit now. By making immediate gifts to the scholarship in addition to the CGA he was able to ensure the scholarship will support students right away.
“This scholarship means so much to our students and their families,” said Marjorie Walker, Ed.D., chair of nursing at UF. “It will help students be successful by alleviating some of the financial burden of higher education and allowing them to focus on acquiring knowledge, skills and clinical judgment abilities instead of working to supplement the cost of their education.”
After he had made the gift, “I received a card with 25 names,” DeLong said with a smile. In fact, students from the first class of the nursing program sent him a card to thank him for his support. He’s also been able to meet with Walker and see the nursing lab where students practice their skills in the Davis Street Building.
Over the years, DeLong and his wife have made many gifts to the University of Findlay including gifts to the Findlay Fund, the Phil Gardner Fitness Center, the DeLong Creativity and Presentation Room in Old Main, the new Center for Student Life and College of Business building, and many more. Now, he plans to continue to give to this new scholarship to honor his wife’s commitment to nursing and patient care and instill that same passion in Findlay students. “The students in the nursing major are committed and caring, and they want to provide the type of nursing care that impacts peoples’ lives,” said Walker.