Breaking Barriers to Education through Scholarships

By Caitlin Clark

Raymond C. Lauver

Raymond C. Lauver was born in rural Richfield, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1928. He was raised by hard-working Mennonite parents, Christian and Dorothy, in a home without indoor plumbing. He attended a one-room schoolhouse in a town without public libraries, graduated from Fayette High School, and completed an accounting degree from Susquehanna University (SU) in 1950. While at SU, he met Kay LaRue, whom he married in 1952. They raised two daughters together, Diane and Joan. Diane Lauver is a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing.

Without the support of scholarships, Raymond would not have been able to attend SU. His deep gratitude for his education, generous heart, and desire to give back to the university that profoundly impacted his life fueled a lifelong commitment to SU. Raymond served as a member of SU’s Board of Trustees for 25 years. In 2000, he received the Alumni Association Service Award. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree for outstanding accomplishments in business. He received these accolades humbly, remarking, “I think service is necessary to repay what we have received, as well as to create a whole person.”

Raymond knew first-hand that finances create significant barriers to accessing quality education. To help break these barriers, he generously contributed to others’ education. Raymond established scholarship endowments at SU for students of limited means. He also chose to fund Joan’s daughters’ college education. Diane did not have her own children, and Raymond wanted to balance his financial gifts between his two daughters. So, he approached Diane about a charity of her choice to which he could donate. Because Diane had mentored many first-generation nursing students who faced financial stresses, Diane suggested setting up a scholarship for nursing students who had limited means or who were first-generation college students. Raymond respected Diane’s career as a nurse practitioner, educator, and researcher; he set up the Diane Lauver Scholarship Fund at the UW–Madison School of Nursing in his daughter’s name. The Lauver Scholarship Fund is a Great People Scholarship designed to assist promising Badgers who cannot afford a college education without financial assistance. Since 2014, the Fund has distributed over $178,700 to students in need.

Although Raymond passed away in April 2022, his legacy continues through the scholarship endowments he established. Meet three of the Lauver Scholarship recipients impacted by Raymond’s gift.

Meet the Lauver Scholarship Recipients

Amanda Cook x’24

Hometown: Oregon, WI

Amanda Cook is a second-year traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) student who is double majoring in global health. She is a peer mentor for Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, a program that provides need-based grants to graduates of Wisconsin public high schools attending University of Wisconsin four-year colleges and universities. She is also an intake volunteer for MEDiC, a student-led free health clinic that operates throughout Madison.

Cook says she is interested in exploring many areas of nursing and is keeping her mind open to all opportunities that cross her path. She also hopes to stay in the Madison area after graduation. “I grew up around Madison, and I feel so deeply connected to the city and the people here. I have considered a variety of specialties and areas of nursing, such as mental health, community health, orthopedics, or becoming a nurse practitioner someday. I trust that my educational opportunities and experiences will guide me to where I am supposed to be, and I am excited to begin my nursing career at UW–Madison.”

When asked about the impact scholarships and financial aid have had in her life, Cook says, “Being a scholarship recipient has helped me tremendously in my journey to becoming a nurse. Not only does receiving financial assistance make me feel valued and appreciated as someone entering the nursing profession, but it has also impacted my motivation and focus on my studies. Receiving financial aid has eased some of the financial stress I experience as a college student, which has allowed me to be more focused on my courses, extracurriculars, and volunteering.”

Cook also notes the importance of giving back or paying it forward to others. “We all have needed support, and everyone has the ability to be there for others, even in little ways. Giving back to your community can come in many forms, from financial donations to sharing your experiences with others. We can all make a positive impact on others in our own way. Throughout my first year in the nursing program, I have already felt so supported in the nursing community, and I hope to give back to people that are in my same position however I can.”


Molly McCormick x’24

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Molly McCormick is a second-year traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) student. She is a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, works as a patient safety observer (PSO) at UW Health, and serves as the participant relations executive for Dance Marathon, a philanthropy club that raises money for Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After graduation, McCormick plans to apply to emergency department residences in Chicago hospitals. After gaining experience, she hopes to become a travel nurse, then pursue a doctor of nursing practice and one day become a nurse educator.

Receiving scholarships and financial aid has had a “tremendous” effect on her college career. McCormick says, “To put it simply, I would not be able to afford this university without the generosity of the donors and aid. Thanks to the scholarship program, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I have been able to put more time and energy into my schooling rather than my employment. I hope to one day pay it forward to other students in the same way that I have been blessed.”

“As Gandhi once said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ I would not be who I am today without nursing and the happiness I get from helping others,” says McCormick. ”I believe it is extremely important to recognize the privilege I have to be able to receive scholarships and attend school. Therefore, the best way to show my gratitude and respect to those who make it possible, like Dr. Lauver, is to pay it all forward. I try to make the most out of everything I do and immerse myself in the community around me.”


Paula Clemente ’23

Hometown: Long Beach, CA

Paula Clemente completed her bachelor of science in nursing in May 2023 and is currently pursuing a nursing certificate at the School of Nursing. She is a member of the Wisconsin Triathlon Team and enjoys swimming, biking, and running around Madison when she’s not studying. Her clinical rotation at the University Hospital and American Family Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Outpatient Clinic sparked her interest in becoming a pediatric nurse. Though she is keeping her career options open, she hopes to one day investigate nursing in developing countries and to become the chief nurse officer (CNO) of a hospital.

Clemente says receiving scholarships helped alleviate her familial financial burden. “These scholarships have allowed me to solely focus on school and my last year of college without the stress of finances. This is my first year of college where I did not have to worry about money & working. I am so grateful that the nursing school has allowed me to enjoy my education and college experience with these scholarships!”

“I believe in the idea of karma and doing the right thing!” says Clemente. “It may sound cheesy, but it is the little things, like giving back to the community or simply asking how someone is doing, that make a big impact on someone’s life! Doing the ‘right thing’ — for example, doing honest work — will come back to benefit the person and the individual person you are helping.”