Karen Fawcett '83, donor

Karen Fawcett '83

"We received tremendous teaching and support when we were students; now we have the ability to give it back."

When Karen Fawcett ’83 returned to college, she planned to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Although she had a nursing diploma and was working as a registered nurse, Fawcett entered Winona State much like any other freshman and took four years to graduate.

Her experience at Winona State profoundly changed Fawcett. Nursing is a caring profession and Fawcett had always been devoted to those she worked with as an RN. The WSU nursing faculty and her fellow students inspired her to explore her skills and discover previously hidden strengths. She learned more about herself and her purpose in life.

“The Nursing Department was a true community,” says Fawcett. “We were supported and we supported each other. I grew tremendously and became much more aware of my leadership skills and how I could apply them in the world.”

After graduation, Fawcett changed course, volunteering with community agencies and directing a Winona Area Public Schools home visit program. She remains widely admired for her work and her service in the community.

As other responsibilities captured more attention, her connection with Winona State waned. Fawcett and her husband, O.J., had always supported the Rosemary Langston Nursing Scholarship, but she wasn’t fully engaged with the department that had reshaped her life.

So Fawcett decided to make another return. When asked to co-chair the scholarship committee for the Light the Way capital campaign, she saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with a community she treasured and its new generation of students.

Because of the impact it had on her life, Fawcett first focused on leading scholarship initiatives in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She believes the high quality of the faculty and students that she enjoyed continues but scholarship support is lagging. Making education accessible to a diverse range of students is even more critical.

While she has already helped secure a major gift for the Langston Scholarship for undergraduate nursing majors, Fawcett is aiming higher. She wants to inspire more alumni to re-establish their relationships with the Winona State nursing community, just as she did.

“We received tremendous teaching and support when we were students,” says Fawcett. “Now we have the ability to give it back.”

Support the Langston Scholarship or other scholarships in nursing and the health sciences by contacting the WSU Foundation: wsufoundation@winona.edu or 507.457.5020.

Light the Way