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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing (CON) scholarships often link the legacy of the past to the promise of the future.

Roger and Marie Able

Take for example Roger and Marie Able who established a scholarship in 2002 to honor Phyllis Albrecht, a caring and gifted nurse who shared her expertise and compassion with residents of Bethel Home, a skilled nursing facility in Oshkosh.

Albrecht was a mentor to student interns, showing them the way to become excellent nurses. She followed a three-part credo throughout her life: serve others, serve the community and take long walks with someone you love.

The CON recognized Albrecht’s outstanding professional ability in 1998 with the Nightingale Award. She died in May 2002 after a long battle with cancer.

Albrecht inspired the Ables.

Roger met her at Bethel Home, a subsidiary of Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh where he was president and CEO. He previously served on UWO’s College of Business Advisory Board and CON’s Board of Visitors. Marie, who graduated with an MBA from UWO in 1985, made a career change to nursing at the age of 50, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Florida. They now live in central Florida.

Rylee Sake

Together, the couple created the Phyllis Albrecht Scholarship in 2002 to honor Albrecht’s years of giving to others.

That legacy is now reflected in UWO nursing students like Rylee Sake, a recent recipient of the Albrecht scholarship and the first in her family to go to college. The Fort Atkinson native is expected to earn her bachelor’s degree this fall.

“I am very grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship,” Sake said. “My dream of becoming a nurse is becoming a reality … Nursing school is already stressful but trying to balance work and finances can add to that stress. This scholarship allows me to work less and dedicate my time to studying and focusing on my passion.”

* Roger Able passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 2, after CONtact magazine was printed. His obituary is included here.

Returning the favor

Alumna Jeri (Doemel) Borgard ’97, knows what it is like to be a first-generation college student. She was 35 and working full-time when she enrolled at UW Oshkosh. She was surprised and grateful to receive a scholarship to help pay for textbooks.

“Getting my nursing degree was the most important thing in the world to me. Nothing was going to stand in my way. I worked hard, got my degree and absolutely loved my career,” she said.

Borgard remembered that kindness. With her husband Larry Borgard ’95 MBA, she established the Jeri (Doemel) Borgard Nursing Scholarship for full-time nursing students with financial need.

Larry and Jeri (Doemel) Borgard

The first recipient of the new Borgard scholarship is first-generation college student Jordan Williams of Dodgeville. She was honored to receive the support.

“With this money I will become more financially secure. As a result, I will be able to focus even harder on my studies and have more time to practice my skills. This scholarship not only gives me the opportunity to become a better student, but also to become a better nurse in the future,” Williams said.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity and allowing me to blossom into the best student nurse I can be.”

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