Elaine Taylor was a 2016-17 David Brennan Tuition Award for Nursing Studies recipient at the October 3 celebration.

Holly Frey was a 2016-17 David Brennan Tuition Award for Nursing Studies recipient at the October 3 celebration.


Fall 2016

|  by Jennifer Heil Bonacorsi, CAS ’94

Nursing alumna creates endowment for working students

Circle of Support

After years spent raising a family and caring for others — even becoming known as the neighborhood nurse — Lesle Cole decided to make her title official.

This year, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Oakland University.

Cole said that pursuing her dream — “a second life”, as she calls it — would not have been possible without the nurturing learning environment at OU and the steadfast encouragement and support of her partner, David Brennan.

So she decided to honor both, forming the David Brennan Support for Nursing Studies Endowment with a $100,000 gift to the School of Nursing (SON).

“I’d like other students to have the same positive experience that I did,” said Cole, who thrived at OU after switching from another university. “It is meant as a special thank you for David. And from an educational standpoint, it’s giving back to a place where the professors always made the classes interesting, and there was a sense of supported achievement.”

Cole’s gift will take shape as a $2,000 scholarship that will be awarded to two nursing students each year, said Colette O’Connor, director of Planned Giving. “This is definitely an important gift,” she said. “We usually have hundreds of students who seek scholarships to augment their financial aid, and this will truly help them.”

Specifically, the scholarship will be awarded to two undergraduate students enrolled either full or part time in the BSN program, preferably who are working and have to cover the cost of college on their own.

Said Cole, “I have the outlook that it’s important to help the people around you, and to help people so that they don’t just survive — they thrive.” She credits this outlook to her family, whose automotive business has the longstanding practice of giving scholarships to employees’ family members.

Cole also donated $25,000 for the School of Nursing to purchase equipment and supplies, including the IV pumps students use in the nursing skills lab. “I know firsthand what it takes to be successful in the field,” Cole said. “The lab is a great resource where students can gain more confidence with the technology and skills they’ll need to use on the job.”

Cole plans to work as a hospice nurse, an area of care that holds a special interest for her. And she looks forward to the scholarship helping OU SON students for years to come.

Added Cole, “Anything given in the spirit of love and kindness grows.”