Glenn birthday gift will endure

In late 1994, Wilbur Glenn decided he would take certain secret steps to invest his wife's birthday with special meaning. To do so, he established a $2 million trust, one-quarter of which supports the Woodruff School of Nursing in honor of his wife, Hilda D. Glenn.

Interest money from the trust will become available on Mrs. Glenn's birthday next month and will continue in perpetuity. Last year, the nursing school awarded $15,000 in her name to students using annual fund money given by Mrs. Glenn. This year, at least five scholarship students are expected to benefit from interest generated by the trust. The criteria for the scholarship are still being formulated, but will include a combination of financial need and academic merit, with a service component as well.

Mrs. Glenn has not imposed any exclusions on the scholarship, believing that the field of nursing should be open to anyone with the necessary commitment. "It just gives me a warm feeling," she said, "to know that the profession will give Emory students security later in life." Contemporary nursing students are breaking the traditional mold. Male students are coming to the field in increasing numbers, along with students who already have a bachelor's degree. The average age of an Emory undergraduate nursing student is 27.

Why the School of Nursing became a branch on the Glenn's philanthropic tree speaks to Mrs. Glenn's personal experience. Her two older sisters were nurses who demonstrated that "tender, loving care goes a long way." Multiple hospital stays since the early 1980s have underlined for Mrs. Glenn the value of a dedicated nurse, as has the explosion of nursing homes in this country. In her words, "A good nurse is wonderful. She must love her work and be willing to sacrifice."

In the first year that Mrs. Glenn spent teaching, she earned $60 a month. That first job taught her something about the value of money, and later in life she learned the value of "seeing money spent where it does real good." Listening to his wife carefully articulate the reasons for their gift, Mr. Glenn had a short, ready answer of his own: "As the old sign says, `We Aim to Please.'"

-- Susan M. Carini