Graduate Nurse Scholarship Fund
Established in 1919, and later transferred to the Berks County Community Foundation, the Graduate Nurse Scholarship Fund has a long and intriguing history. It honors three women from Berks County who died serving as nurses in World War I. Marie Hidell, Eleanor Cassidy, and Mary J. Scheirer all passed away after caring for soldiers suffering from influenza. The three women were graduates of the Reading Hospital School of Nursing, which started in 1889. The women were dedicated to their country and their responsibilities as nurses. For instance, Hidell risked her life to nurse 188 patients who no one else would help because they had contracted influenza, an action that resulted in her being posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the highest medal for bravery. In their honor, the Graduate Nurse Scholarship Fund is awarded to graduates of the School of Nursing and members of the Reading Hospital School of Nursing who are pursuing an advanced degree in a health-related field. Additional funds came from Berks Hematology/Oncology, which raised money in honor of longtime employee Karen Krick’s retirement in 2010. An annual scholarship will be awarded in Karen’s name. Nurse Marie Hidell is pictured.