Endowments Empower Faculty and Students at the School of Nursing

By Esther Seidlitz
Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

In 2014, longtime benefactors of the University of Wisconsin–Madison John and Tashia Morgridge announced a giving program that has changed the university’s trajectory. Before this $100 million Morgridge Match, it was more difficult to entice the best and the brightest to the UW. It was hard to compete with the warmer weather, higher pay, and greater opportunities for endowed positions that other schools could offer to highly qualified educators and researchers.

That’s not to say the Morgridge Match provided the direct funding necessary to hire brilliant new faculty members. Rather, it encouraged other donors to participate in the support and retention of the excellent faculty already at the university through endowed chairs and named professorships. As Chancellor Blank said at the time, “These new chairs will provide appreciation, resources, and professional status to highly productive UW faculty; they will help retain these researchers at UW; and they will give us additional tools to recruit new rising stars from elsewhere to Madison.”

In addition to a more prestigious title, recipients of faculty endowments receive additional funding from the investment returns to supplement their income, pursue new avenues of research, buy better equipment, and hire research assistants. These benefits ultimately build up and contribute to a greater culture for both faculty and students, making the UW a more competitive school in terms of recruiting and retaining talent.

With the Morgridge’s matching program, other generous donors were able to double their capacity to endow professors and cement their legacies at the UW. A $500,000 donation or commitment became $1 million to endow a professor and a $1 million commitment became $2 million to name a chair.

Richard Sinaiko is one such donor who maximized his ability to give back to a beloved institution on his own terms and according to his values. The Richard E. Sinaiko Professorship in Health Care Leadership now funds the scholarship and efforts of Barbara Pinekenstein ’73, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN, who is working to educate and empower the next generation of nursing leaders. As a Madison native, the son of a nurse who graduated from the Wisconsin School of Nursing, and a prominent health care leader, Sinaiko’s endowment is a gift that will keep on giving back to the things that are important to him.

While Pinekenstein is grateful for the additional support she has to pursue her own passions, she is more grateful for what her endowment has meant to the School of Nursing and to Sinaiko. As she explains, these endowments “are about supporting excellence and helping to support the vision of the school, and linking the hopes and dreams of the donor and the vision and mission of the school.”

Such gifts will continue to support the university beyond any one recipient’s tenure. Renewed commitments from donors like the Morgridges and constant support and generosity from the UW community has helped double the number of endowed faculty at the university in the last seven years. Since 2014, the School of Nursing has gained a total of six named chairs and professors, three of which were established within the last year.

In the last year, Lisa Bratzke ’88, MS’92, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA, Barb King MS’87, PhD’10, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN, and Linda Oakley, PhD, RN, received new appointments as endowed professors and chairpersons. These endowments, established by generous donors, reward these educators for their dedication to the School of Nursing, honor their achievements, and improve their resources. These rewards will keep on giving back as endowed faculty members are empowered to advance the School of Nursing and its students through innovative teaching and research.

Meet the Newest Endowed Faculty Members at the School of Nursing

photo of Lisa BratzkeLisa C. Bratzke ’88, MS’92, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA
Sekelsky Professor for Education Innovation, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

  • PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Nursing
  • MS, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Nursing/CNS Education
  • BS, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Nursing

After more than 20 years of clinical practice, Lisa Bratzke brought her expertise to the UW as a faculty member in 2013. In addition to her newly-named professorship, awarded in January of 2022, she served as SON’s Undergraduate Program Director and Honors Program Coordinator and recently accepted the Associate Dean position for Academic Affairs. Bratzke focuses her research on brain health and cognitive aging with the goal of slowing cognitive decline and improving self-management of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

photo of Barb KingBarb King, MS’87, PhD’10, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN
Charlotte Jane and Ralph A. Rodefer Chair

  • PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Nursing
  • MS, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Nursing
  • BA, College of St. Scholastica; Nursing

Barb King has been teaching at the UW for over a decade. She seeks to improve outcomes for hospitalized older adults by investigating patient experiences, fall prevention methods, and ambulation recovery processes. This expertise has made her a very valuable director of the Center for Aging Research & Education. King’s chair position, awarded in July 2021, recognizes her excellent research and allows her to pursue it further.

photo of Linda OakleyLinda D. Oakley, PhD, RN
Louis J. and Phyllis Clark Jacobs Professor in Mental Health

  • PhD, Univerisity of Washington; Nursing Science
  • Post-Doc, University of California, San Francisco; RWJ Clinical Nurse Scholar
  • MS, Boston University; Psychiatric Nursing
  • BS, California State University, Chico; Nursing

Linda D. Oakley has been expanding and sharing her expertise at the UW for 30 years while continually serving Dane County as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Her research focuses on the social determinants of public health outcomes in Black communities, including stigma, trauma, and cultural resilience. Oakley’s new position, awarded in July of 2021, will give her more resources to study mental health issues and strengthen communities with self-management strategies.

Contact a member of our development team to learn more about endowments

Scott Fletcher
Director of Development

Alison Lazar
Associate Director of Development