John Reardon and his family knew how much UB and its students meant to his late wife, Glenda, so giving back to support those students was a "no-brainer".
Glenda Reardon was passionate about many things, from her family to her career as a registered dietitian to helping UB students. For many years she served as a preceptor for interns in UB’s dietetic program in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, but she and her husband, John, went beyond the academic and embraced students on a personal level, developing lasting relationships with many.
When Glenda died after a courageous battle with cancer, John and the couple’s children decided to capture Glenda’s essence of kindness and her desire to help people by creating the Glenda R. Reardon Student Assistance Fund. The fund covers costs associated with the dietitian exam, including preparation courses and ancillary expenses, such as travel and room and board, for dietetic students.
Though only 60 at the time of her death, Glenda’s life was full, having raised three children with John and welcoming five grandchildren. She also dedicated her life to helping others, working 29 years at the Niagara County Office for the Aging, where she became well-known for her compassion and love of helping senior citizens. She was also very active in the dietetics profession, serving as past president of the WNY Dietetic Association, NYS Aging Services Dietitians, NYS Association of Nutrition and Aging Programs, and many more.
Even while in hospice, Glenda’s true nature never diminished. She felt compelled to help other patients. “She insisted that we make cookies,” John says. And though Glenda couldn’t partake herself, she was able to deliver them to others from her wheelchair. “We went from room to room, delivering cookies to families and the patients because she wanted to share a little bit of joy with others."
“We wanted to continue her legacy by perpetuating the joy she felt in building relationships with students and her dietetic interns. It was a no-brainer for us,” adds John, recalling times when he and Glenda opened their home to students who couldn’t go home for breaks during the school year.
Working on the fund has also been a touchpoint for the Reardon family. They gather to celebrate Glenda’s life, manage the fund, learn about the student recipients and find new ways to spread kindness. It has been an opportunity for her grandchildren to know her through service.
“We really consider it to be a privilege to have this fund in her name, so that she can reach out and continue to help students, which she loved to do,” says John. He and the Reardon family hope their support will help recipients embody some of the characteristics Glenda showed students, her family and her community every day.
Published October 6, 2022