My mother, Josephine Wilthew, was drawn to the health profession from a very young age. Her circumstances – growing up in poverty in Puerto Rico – limited her ability to pursue her education and fulfill her potential. To honor her life, the Josephine Wilthew Endowed Scholarship has been established. My mother lost her father when she was just a toddler. She was the youngest of five girls and her mother had to work menial jobs both day and night in order to provide for her family. Seeking a better life, my mother immigrated to New York City, where she would later marry. She always espoused the value of education, not only for the hope of greater opportunities for individual and families, but also for the intrinsic value and hope of creating a better person and a better society.
In 2002, I took a nursing refresher class at Montgomery College in order to update my nursing license that I received in 1968. It was at that time that I saw an incredibly diverse population of students – immigrants, older students, those seeking new careers, and minorities. Although different in many ways, what they shared in common was their ambition and aspiration to pursue their education.
My faith teaches me that all things received are from above. It also teaches me that “in all things, in all circumstances, give thanks.” Additionally, to whom much is given, must is expected. In a play depicting the life of Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, Ms. Richards was quoted as saying: ”Life is not always fair, but government should be.” This statement continues to resonate with me. Despite discussions of offering free tuition, access to educational opportunities remains a distant dream for many.
In honor of the life lessons and faith instilled in me by my mother, I would like to assist those who seek to pursue an education at Montgomery College. While she lived briefly in assisted living, our eyes were opened to the dire need for trained and caring health care professionals – a new that will continue to grow as our population shifts and lives longer. Knowing MC students who receive the Josephine Wilthew Endowed Scholarship are able to pursue their education helps ensure my mother’s legacy of caring for others continues.