Family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Barbara A. Rouleau gathered this week to witness the signing of an endowment agreement for the Dr. Barbara Rouleau Student Emergency Fund in Nursing. This new fund will support nursing students who experience personal difficulties that interfere with their academic studies or affect their welfare. The fund honors Professor Rouleau’s empathy and compassion for students. Rouleau passed away in November.
Rouleau was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Nursing and a nurse practitioner in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty practice at Appletree Bay Primary Care. She earned three degrees from the University of Vermont: her Bachelor of Science in Education and Nursing degree in 1990, a Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 2001, and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree in 2016.
Rouleau’s husband, Ray, their children, parents, siblings, extended family and friends joined CNHS faculty and staff in the nursing conference room to honor her and formalize the fund established by her family. Donations to the fund will allow CNHS faculty to provide emergency grants for students in need.
“For students, operating on very tight budgets in most cases, the smallest event can disrupt an entire semester. A pair of broken glasses, a chipped tooth, a need to travel home for an emergency and not having the money for the ticket are all potential catastrophes,” explained Professor Rosemary Dale, chair of the Nursing Department. “Today is an exciting day as it memorializes Barb’s genuine care and concern for students and their welfare.”
Stuart Whitney, nursing professor and department vice chair, described how the fund has already helped a senior nursing student who didn’t have enough money to pay tuition for a required public health nursing course. “With the grant, she was able to take the course, and now she will graduate in May 2018,” he said.
Kevin McAteer, chief development officer for UVM Foundation Academic Health Sciences, explained that creating an endowment means that the money will grow and provide ongoing support in perpetuity. He noted that 165 donors have already contributed more than $55,000 in Rouleau's honor.
Professor Carol Buck-Rolland presented a gift to the Rouleau family during the event and several faculty members spoke about Barbara Rouleau’s great energy and passion in the classroom, clinic and community.
“She introduced technology that is an underpinning of our current program,” said Dale. “In the clinical setting she demonstrated the highest level of care and caring for her patients. I had a patient tell me last week that she really misses Barb. Barb had a unique way of making people feel comfortable and cared for.”
The group looked on as Ray Rouleau and children signed the legal documents establishing the endowment. "We are very glad to be able to provide this support to students forever," he said.