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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Nursing Award Recipients

Service Award

Darlene WeisDr. Darlene Thier Weis, Nurs '59, Grad '64
Pewaukee, Wis.

Darlene’s commitment to service spans decades — and continents. Most notable during her 29-year tenure at Marquette, though, was connecting students from the college with a parish in Peru, Sacramento Santisimo, for a community health practicum.

The program launched in 2008, and, for the past eight summers, Darlene has accompanied the students on the trip.

“It has been a wonderful experience to share my passion with the students and watch them as they undergo a transformation,” she says.

Speaking of passion, it’s something that has defined Darlene’s teaching career. After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at Marquette, she joined the college as an assistant adjunct professor in 1976 and became an assistant professor in 1982. After 29 years of teaching, Darlene was named associate professor emerita in 2005.

It was toward the end of her Marquette tenure that Darlene realized her passion for international health care and working with nurses in less developed countries to upgrade their skills despite a lack of resources. A particularly poignant moment came during a service trip to Tanzania.

“I still remember the elder Masai Chief Musa saying to me, ‘You have brought us into the 21st century,’ ” she says. “I knew it was then that I discovered I wanted to work with poor and underserved people.”

With funding from USAID, she worked in Eastern Europe, specifically the Republic of Georgia. This project led to others in Russia and Central Asia and with the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 2007, Darlene received the George W. Bush Volunteer Service Award for her work in the Republic of Georgia. Her consultation work with Ministries of Health focused on nursing regulation for the emerging profession and nursing reform. With additional funding, Darlene took a health educator train the trainer program and methodology to Mexico, Guatemala and the Philippines.

Though the Peru trip will continue without her this summer, Darlene plans to work with underserved populations and students for years to come.