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A nurse’s legacy lives on through student scholarships

A young candy striper at Trinity Memorial Hospital in Cudahy, WI, knew from a very young age she had a calling and passion for helping others. Jill Ladwig (’79), a registered nurse, had a long career helping people in various positions as a floor nurse, supervisor, instructor for certified nursing assistant (CNA) candidates, and wellness nurse in geriatrics.

Jill’s career started as a candy striper in high school. Then she worked as a CNA through college. She firmly believed and advocated for the critical role of a CNA. As an instructor, she stressed attention to detail and taught excellence in care skills. Her unique bond with her students inspired many students to move into lifelong positions in health care.

As a registered nurse, Jill’s knowledge and insight often set her apart within the profession. Her commitment to the patient was always her priority: ensuring they were treated with dignity and respect. Jill would step up and ensure she was helping those who had difficulties caring for themselves, such as older adults and those with addiction problems. Her strengths as an empathetic listener and patient advocate were valuable to patients who needed her voice to represent and care for them.

After Jill’s passing, her family wanted to ensure her legacy lived with future generations of nursing students at UW-Milwaukee. The newly established scholarship, “Jill M. Ladwig Nursing Scholarship,” provides financial funding to two groups of students: credentialed CNAs in the nursing program with a demonstrated financial need and doctor of nursing practice students with a focus on psychiatric mental health with academic merit.

Jill’s husband, Ken (’78 and ’80), shared “Jill’s cheerful disposition and deep compassion were reflected in every facet of her life, providing inspiration to her family, friends, and patients. She is greatly missed. These scholarships provide us with one way to preserve her memory by contributing to the development of new generations of dedicated nurses and other health professionals.”

Scholarships are the lifeblood of the nursing program at UW-Milwaukee. Jill’s memory is living on with all of us through her family and scholarships impacting the future generation of panther nurses.