The Parkland College Foundation is honored to be chosen to receive a $100,000 donation from local residents to support the school’s nursing program.
The gift, donated anonymously in mid-November by friends of the late Dr. Helen Mackey Widick, will establish the nursing endowment in her name. Income from the gift will be used to provide a $5,000 scholarship annually to a student who has been accepted into the nursing program, to cover tuition, fees, and books.
Widick, a native of rural Monticello, Ill., practiced podiatric medicine for 45 years at the Widick Foot Clinic in Urbana. Before earning her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Scholl’s College of Podiatry in Chicago in 1957 however, she practiced and taught nursing in Monticello and Alton, Ill., for a decade.
Nursing was always Widick’s “first love,” which is why her friends want to create the nursing scholarship in her memory, according to Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt.
Widick, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 93, was known for her philanthropy to numerous organizations in the area, some of which are recipients of her trust. The longtime Urbana resident was a member of the Altrusa Club of Champaign Urbana, serving as president from 1967 to 1969 and as governor of Altrusa International District Six from 1981 to 1983. She is a former member of the Auxiliary Coast Guard. Dr. Widick was past worthy matron of the Myrtle Chapter 131 of Eastern Star, past royal matron of #17 Amaranth, past worthy high priestess of White Shrine of Jerusalem-Mizpah #11 and past worthy grand commander of True Kindred #15.
Her numerous civic memberships include the Piatt County Museum, Champaign County Humane Society, American Podiatry Association and American Podiatry Women’s Association. A former Kentucky Colonel, Widick also taught Sunday school for 25 years at Grace United Methodist Church in Urbana.
She practiced podiatry at two clinics she built in downtown Urbana before retiring in 2002 at the age of 80. The first was a smaller clinic at 1208 E. Main St., (now the Little Red Dog House pet grooming business); the larger clinic, next door at 1210 E. Main St., was completed in 1987. Realizing she had more land than needed to build the second clinic, she donated part of the land to Habitat for Humanity to build homes.
“We at the Parkland College Foundation are grateful that Helen's passion for helping people will continue through the Dr. Helen M. Widick Nursing scholarship," Wahlfeldt said.