“One night, as the events of Black Lives Matter unfolded, I started thinking about how I could make some kind of contribution to Black lives with that money. Betty and our long friendship came into my mind. ‘If she will let me,’ I thought, ‘I could endow a scholarship for Black nursing students in her honor.’ I wanted to do this not only because I love Betty, but also because she has been such a source of learning in my life. She is the closest person I know in the African American community, and knowing her — and her dear, beloved late mother, Mamie Rowe — has helped balance my understanding of people. Having Betty as a friend opened my mind. I’m so grateful for this experience, all these years later, because it has benefited my children, too. It has helped me pass on to them a sensitivity to other cultures different from their own. It has given them a wider understanding of people.”
Linda Kmetz, PhD, RN, executive director of the UPMC Schools of Nursing, says that students have been thrilled by this scholarship opportunity. “Both Betty and Rebecca made it clear to me that the scholarship needed to go to a UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing student who has demonstrated a full commitment to nursing and to taking advantage of their nursing education.”
Linda Kmetz and Rebecca Kamen also thanked Louise Brown, executive director of the Shadyside Hospital Foundation, for the smooth and easy creation of the scholarship endowment.
“This has exceeded my best wishes and expectations,” says Rebecca. “I’m really pleased. And I know Betty will make sure it’s done right.”
“I am deeply honored,” Betty comments. “This is a very moving way to honor our friendship of 50 years.”