Valpo Alumna Establishes Scholarship to Honor Former Nursing Faculty

Leslie Ann Hull ’77 Svoboda, M.D., has established the Elise Sprecher and Suzanne Whitehead Endowed Scholarship with a $250,000 gift as a way of honoring two former faculty members of the College of Nursing and Health Professions who had a profound impact on her life. Valparaiso University will use this endowed scholarship for students pursuing a career in health care. 

Dr. Svoboda received her medical degree in 1991 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Valpo.

In addition to the initial $250,000, Dr. Svoboda has pledged up to $125,000, for five years at $25,000 per year, to match other donor’s support of the scholarship fund. “I am blessed to be in a position to establish this scholarship,” she said. “As a nursing student I appreciated the education and encouragement that Professors Sprecher and Whitehead provided. Just as they influenced my life, I hope the recipients of this scholarship will be inspired  to ‘pay-forward’ for future Valpo health care students.”

Elise Sprecher ’72 MALS joined the nursing faculty as an instructor in 1972 and was promoted to assistant professor of nursing in 1974. Her area of expertise was in psychiatric nursing and administration. Throughout her career, she was licensed as a clinical nurse in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, and Florida, with a specialty in psychiatric and mental health.

Suzanne Whitehead, M.S., joined the Valparaiso University faculty in 1969 as assistant professor of nursing and was promoted in 1972 to associate professor of nursing. Her students called her gifted and dynamic as an instructor, and she was known for holding them to an exceptionally high standard and encouraging them to strive for excellence. She also served the College as chair of curriculum. 

Dr. Svoboda’s gift Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign that is securing permanent resources for student scholarships, faculty development and programs that prepare students for lives of leadership, service and generosity. Forever Valpo was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $277 million.