Bequest Gift to Endow Nursing Research at UB

By Cynthia Machamer

Release Date: May 27, 2005 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A bequest gift by the late Helen E. Popa, an alumna of the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, will support the work of the school's Center for Nursing Research in the UB School of Nursing through the Helen E. Popa Nursing Research Fund.

Popa, who earned a certificate and bachelor's degree in 1940 and 1950, respectively, included the school in her will with a bequest gift of $177,560. Her gift honors the memory of Anne Walker Sengbusch, the school's first dean.

Popa was the older of two daughters of immigrant parents from Romania. As a young woman growing up during the Depression, she left her native Youngstown, Ohio, and hitchhiked to Buffalo, where she responded to an article indicating she could enroll in the Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing program for $75 for the three-year certificate program.

Popa, who died in 2004, spent most of her career in nursing management at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Youngstown. Before her move back to her hometown, she worked in public health nursing in Buffalo for seven years and was hired by Sengbusch to teach a class on the history of nursing. Popa credited the dean's encouragement as critical in completing her B.S. degree in 1950.

"This endowed fund will allow the School of Nursing to continue its research efforts, ultimately improving the lives of patients," said Mecca Cranley, dean of the UB School of Nursing. "Helen cared deeply about nursing scholarship. Her generous gift will provide vital support for our Center for Nursing Research."

The School of Nursing began in the 1930s as a division of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and became an independent unit within the university in 1940. Nearly 6,000 alumni have graduated from the school's programs, which span the academic spectrum from the baccalaureate through the doctoral degree.