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Laurel Peters: A Gift to Inspire Future Nurses

Photo of Laurel Peters.“I knew by the age of 7 that I was going to be a nurse,” says Laurel Peters, RN, MS ’77. Both her parents worked at the Mayo Clinic—her father as an immunologist, her mother as a dietician—and she found the world of science and medicine fascinating.

Laurel completed an undergraduate degree at the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota, and, newly minted as an RN, moved to California in 1972. She worked at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in South San Francisco then joined Stanford University, where she assisted pioneering open-heart surgeon Norman Shumway, MD, PhD. She experienced many stressful life-and-death situations and, after two years, felt herself burning out.

“I thought that if I didn’t make a change, I’d be the next one on the surgical table,” she says.

Around that time federal funds were made available to assist nurses in pursuing graduate education. She jumped at the chance to attend the UCSF School of Nursing. With her educational expenses almost completely covered, Laurel had the freedom to focus on her studies and enjoy every minute of graduate school.

“It’s a unique and remarkable time when you’re getting your higher education paid for you,” she says. “UCSF was a total joy. I loved to study, and I had inspiring teachers. I started to imagine myself as a nursing educator.”

Remembering her contented years at UCSF inspired Laurel to include a generous bequest in her estate plan for the UCSF School of Nursing to establish an endowed scholarship for students in the Masters Entry Program in Nursing.

“Our alumni know how much dedication and energy it takes to complete an advanced degree,” says David Vlahov, PhD, FAAN, dean of the UCSF School of Nursing. “I am so pleased that Laurel has extended a vote of confidence in her alma mater. Through this bequest she will give an incredible boost to future nursing students.”

Laurel taught for five years then earned a master’s degree in psychology and moved to Seattle. For the past 20 years she has worked for Summit Research Network supervising clinical pharmaceutical trials.

“This bequest is my legacy, and I’m so happy I can support future nurses in their academic achievement. I’d like the students who receive the scholarship to be able to pursue their goals without the burden of debt and other responsibilities and to feel that someone is encouraging them.”


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