In spring 2020, NOSW received a large gift from the estate of Marjorie (Marge) Keller, a long-time donor to the New Opportunity School for Women.
An unexpected gift is always a blessing to a small non-profit like NOSW, said Executive Director Robbie Pentecost. But during this time of so much uncertainty due to COVID-19, “this gift will undergird our efforts to support low-income women across Kentucky.”
Marge Keller went from attending a one-room school in Connecticut to earning a doctorate in nursing science from Indiana University. She taught nursing at several universities including the University of Kentucky, from which she retired in 1991. Her work teaching nursing and public health took her to every state except Hawaii. She also taught and volunteered in 26 countries.
NOSW founder Jane Stephenson penned this memory on learning about Marge’s generous estate gift:
“I knew Marge first from our days at UK. Then, when we started NOSW, she would bring women from South America to visit with us because she hoped these women would be inspired to do something similar when they went back home. She spent her life focusing on relationships between the United States and South Africa. Even after retiring from UK, she continued her work with women in South America.”Jane Stephenson
“NOSW certainly celebrates the life of this amazing woman,” said Robbie, who never had the opportunity to meet Marge personally.
Marge loved books and was a life-long learner. She also took creative writing classes and wrote her autobiography, detailed accounts of her travels as well as creative and fanciful stories.
Marge also bequeathed to NOSW a large collection of her writings. Robbie hopes to eventually share these writings with the women NOSW serves. “They will serve as a source of encouragement for our graduates to write their own accounts of their life journeys.”