Audrey Doudt, a 1960 graduate of Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, recently established a generous legacy gift at NHS.
Her goal, she says, is to assist students who want to study abroad, but might not have the financial resources to do so otherwise.
"I had no idea that my wishes could be put into official words and that my goals were so in line with those of the School of Nursing & Health Studies."
"It was reassuring that I had made a good decision and had clearly spelled out my ideas for my executor, my lawyer, and any others who may have questions when I'm gone."
"A legacy gift to Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies is a powerful way to make a meaningful impact upon the lives of our students and faculty," said NHS Dean Bette Keltner. "We are deeply grateful to Miss Audrey Doudt for her generosity, which will support our students in their vibrant international pursuits."
Doudt's own international pursuits began more than four decades ago when she entered the Peace Corps. First, from 1964-1966, she served as a volunteer in Togo in western Africa. Then, after joining the United States Public Health Service, she was assigned to the Peace Corps in Senegal, also in western Africa. That stay lasted from 1968-1970.
"Part of why I was drawn to the Peace Corps was President Kennedy," she said. "At that time in my life, he was the most wonderful person, and this was the most wonderful program that existed. The Peace Corps sounded like exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to see the world."
"It was a combination of wanting to do good, wanting to do something with my nursing, and wanting to see different things," she said. "It seemed like a perfect opportunity. I always thought that if I didn't like it, I could come back."
Doudt fondly remembers the experience.
She says working abroad also taught her a great deal about nursing, engaging other cultures, and life.
"I don't know how much we helped them, but they were so excited to see us," she said. "We gave them some powdered milk or an injection that they thought was a cure for everything. We tried to give lectures about malaria, mosquitoes, and boiling water."
"We were sort of naïve," she said. "Some of these things would require that they change their whole lifestyle. They weren't ready to do that. You cannot spend your whole life boiling water. We learned an awful lot, and I think we got more out of it than they did. Most volunteers would say that."
"Maybe," she says modestly, "we did a little bit of good for some people or the country."
"For me, I got out of it all of the experience I could possibly get as a nurse," she said. "My practical sense that you cannot change people grew even stronger. You have to meet them where they are."
"Over the years, when I'd get the [alumni] magazines, I was so impressed that [Georgetown University] was sending students out for experiences in other places," she said. "That is so good. As I thought about it, it became so clear in my mind. If I am going to make a gift and I can designate it, I want to give someone an international experience. Whether they love or hate it, it's so important to experience another way of living. I want students to see how other people live and how other people think."
"When I was going to Georgetown, I had a scholarship that covered my summer sessions," she said. "It meant a lot to my family and me. But when I was a student, I would not have been able to go abroad. I want students to go and get a little culture shock. I want them to know the whole world doesn't live like us. I am hoping that people will also learn to get along with each other. Having experience with other cultures will do that."
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