Bergers establish endowed scholarship

by Joe Ashley

Next spring, a College of Nursing student will benefit from a new endowed scholarship recently established in the name of Barbara Berger, who graduated from what was then the School of Nursing in 1969. Barbara and her husband Larry, a 1968 Ohio State graduate with a degree in sociology, said they created the scholarship “because we’ve been very blessed and wanted to be able to help someone who may be struggling to get where they need to go.” The scholarship will be awarded based on financial need to an incoming or current student who meets the GPA requirement.

After graduation, Barbara joined the nursing staff of Columbus Children’s Hospital, now Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She later held pediatric nursing positions in Cleveland and Boston. She also taught nursing in those cities, as well as in Connecticut, where the couple lived in West Simsbury, near Hartford. Barbara said Larry’s career in the insurance and reinsurance industry was what took them to their different homes, “but it was my nursing profession that allowed me to find a position everywhere we went.”

Larry said that establishing the scholarship is a way of honoring his wife. “Over the years, I saw how important nursing was to her, how dedicated she was to the profession and how much she wanted to help other people. I wanted to be part of helping someone else who may have that same kind of dedication and passion.”

For Barbara, the scholarship reflects her own love of nursing. “It is such a wonderful profession. I had always wanted to be a nurse, and I think there are still other people, both male and female, who feel that way. This is a way of giving someone else the opportunity to share in all that.” Barbara said the scholarship also reflects her belief in the value of a four-year nursing program. “I’ve taught in two-year programs and they can be very good,” she said. “But there’s something about the experience of attending a four-year institution that is so much more broadening for the individual. I always encourage nursing students to obtain their BSN, and then to go on if they want.”

Although the Bergers, who met when they were students at Ohio State, haven’t lived in Ohio in 42 years, they are still proud of their Buckeye roots. Barbara is from Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Larry is a native of Kirtland. They retired to South Carolina four years ago and have connected with other transplanted Ohioans. “It’s amazing how many Buckeyes we’ve met,” said Barbara, "and we gravitate to each other. We may be from many different places, but we sort of find each other.”