A lot has changed since Cheryl Mellenthin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1979.

“It’s so advanced now, and 1979 wasn’t that long ago,” said Mellenthin, who, upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing, spent her career working in the field. “It’s just amazing to see all the advances and all the new responsibilities nurses have these days.”

Mellenthin said when she was in nursing school, the teachings revolved around what was normal and expected with human beings. Many technical skills, especially those needed in ICU, were learned on the job.

“We had simulation labs, but nothing like the labs students are learning in today,” she said. 

It is the hands-on, as-close-to-real-life-as-possible training Mellenthin admires these days. So much so that her husband Mark Chapman recently gave a donation to the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing to make sure the next round of simulation labs, where the hands-on, real-life lessons happen, meet the needs of future students.

“I love the nursing school at UWO. It gave me my career. So, that’s why we give,” Mellenthin said.

Chapman’s $200,000 donation will go toward the new ICU-Trauma Simulation Suite guaranteeing proper equipment for UW Oshkosh students once construction on the new space is completed.

The ICU-Trauma Simulation Suite will be part of the College of Nursing’s upcoming renovation and transformation; construction is expected to formally begin in late summer. The renovation will expand the College of Nursing’s footprint on campus into Clow Social Science Center and will offer future students four simulation labs, debriefing rooms, a graduate lab, a studentpractice lab, student organization meeting rooms, research spaces and more.

Once completed, the College of Nursing will have a completely new look, College of Nursing Dean Rosemary Smith said.

“The goal with the renovations is to bring us to industry standard for our current and future students,” Smith said.

If all goes as planned, the new College of Nursing space will open to its first students in spring 2016, which is coincidentally the 50th anniversary of the founding of the college.

Mellenthin and Chapman are longtime College of Nursing supporters; Mellenthin funds nursing scholarships and Chapman, an artist, is a past donor of pieces to the current College of Nursing space.

“The faith they have put in us with this donation is role modeling in a sense. This donation shows trust and confidence,” Smith said.

Not only is Mellenthin excited for the opportunities the new space will offer upcoming generations of nursing students, but also she’s touched her husband would make the donation on her behalf.

“This is for the people who keep patients alive when there aren’t any doctors around. My husband did this to honor me for the years I spent in the ICU as a nurse and for all the caregivers out there who are hands-on nurses,” Mellenthin said.

To learn more about giving to the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing, contact Shelby Lang at langs@uwosh.edu or call (920) 424-3165.

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