When Patricia Lapan was only 16, she had an ambitious goal: She wanted to attend nursing school. The year was 1945. Nurses were in short supply, but as World War II ended, they were more necessary than ever. Even so, Patricia's family recalls that she said admissions officers raised their eyebrows and said, "We have never had a Jewish student" and "Jewish girls don't make good nurses."
She was admitted to nursing school, and at the same time that she was breaking new ground in nursing, Zionist workers across the globe were working to bring another unlikely project into being: the modern state of Israel. Just as Israel succeeded, Patricia found success, too, rising to the top of her class in short order.
She didn't stop there. She went on to become many things others might tell her she couldn't: a businesswoman, lawyer, real estate investor, stock market maven, even a pilot.
Still, Patricia never forgot where she came from or the importance of offering opportunities to others. That's why she made a generous gift in her will to Hadassah before she passed away in 2012, funding the Patricia Lapan Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing Scholarship Program.
"Hadassah is a true blend of many of her most prized values," says granddaughter Lisa Lapan. "Her love of nursing, her Jewish identity, the state of Israel and, above all, education."
The scholarships are changing lives and helping to fill a need for highly trained nurses in Israel. But the impact extends even farther—recipients of the scholarships come from all backgrounds and go on to specialize in multiple nursing fields, and the beneficiaries include 40 Ethiopian students hoping to become nurses in their own communities.
One thing is true for all of them: Admissions officers at Hadassah- Hebrew University School of Nursing will not tell them they won't make good nurses because of their identity. Patricia helped make sure of it.
Like Patricia Lapan, you can help make an impact on the future of Hadassah's lifesaving work. Contact us at (800) 428-8884 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.