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July 29, 2013

My passion for Purdue: Pam Dexter

Pam Dexter

Pam Dexter, director of development in the College of Health and Human Sciences. (Photo provided)
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They may not always be apparent -- the reasons people give -- but they're always personal. For Pam Dexter, director of development in the College of Health and Human Sciences, and her husband, Mike, it got very personal when her father, Dennis Foster, was hospitalized and relied on nursing staff to help care for him. "I give because I recognize the importance of skilled nurses, and truly appreciate the care they give to others every day," says Pam Dexter (LA'93).

A farmer in Benton County, Ind., all his life, Foster battled heart problems and was in and out of hospitals for the year and a half leading up to his death. Along the way, he and his family met many highly skilled and genuinely kind nurses. "With so much medical terminology and information being thrown at us, many days it was the nurses who sat with us and helped us put it all together so we could better understand what our next steps might be," Dexter explains. "We came to rely on them as much as Dad did."

Dexter commented on how loving and giving a person her father was. "During this time he remained positive and strong, and loved and cared for his friends and family," she says. Knowing him as a man who treated everyone with equal respect and never raised his voice, Dexter and her husband thought creating a scholarship in Foster's name the only fitting way to honor both his strength and integrity, and all the nurses who gave so graciously along the way.

"We felt strongly about giving back to the nursing profession and know how much Dad would have loved the idea of us paying it forward through a scholarship. All who he touched appreciated the kind of person he was; this is our way of sharing him with others," Dexter says. "It is something that will bear his name forever and represents how much he valued people who give of themselves to help others."

* Faculty and staff who would like to share their own thoughts and stories about supporting Purdue should contact stewardship@purdue.edu or 49-43872.

Writer: Karen Pulliam, 49-43872, kp@purdue.edu