Support scholarships to worthy and needy students in Nursing; limited to those pursuing careers in nursing and related skills.
Emanuel Merdinger, a brilliant chemist, was captured and sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Merdinger used his expertise in chemistry to make beer and liquor for his Nazi captors. Because of his skill, Merdinger survived for four years at the infamous camps. Prior to the war he earned doctoral degrees in pharmacy, chemistry and natural science at Ferrara State University in Italy. He immigrated to the U.S. after the war, settling in Illinois and teaching at Roosevelt University in Chicago, the University of Chicago and Loyola University Medical School.
He met and married Raidie Poole in 1947. She was born in Georgia and was attending Wheaton College in Illinois for her undergraduate degree when they met. Afterward, she taught English for a short time before entering Yale School of Nursing where she received her nursing degree. She served as a registered nurse during World War II and achieved the rank of lieutenant. After the war, she worked in administrative affairs at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Dr. and Mrs. Merdinger moved to Gainesville in 1976, when he was first employed by the U.S. Agricultural Laboratory. Dr. Merdinger became a distinguished professor at UF from 1978-91. He served several U.S. presidents as an ambassador to Romania and as a National Academy of Sciences exchange scientist to Romania, Bulgaria and the former East Germany. He passed away in 1997. Mrs. Merdinger was very active in community and university organizations until her death in 1998.
Dr. and Mrs. Merdinger endowed a scholarship for students in nursing in order to recognize a field they believed is often overlooked and to honor Mrs. Merdinger’s profession. Their generosity makes it possible for the College of Nursing to prepare future nurses who are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge for the purpose of serving others.