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For the love of medicine, nursing, and Hopkins

Susan Epstein honors her husband and alma mater with scholarships
Posted September 15, 2015
David and Susan Epstein David and Susan Epstein

The Epsteins’ love story has a comedic beginning: During a snowball fight in 1964 in front of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Susan hit David in the eye and knocked out his contact lens. "I was apologizing to him, but I was also admiring this very handsome, tall, young medical student," says Susan Epstein, who was a student at the neighboring School of Nursing at the time. They got engaged on the day David Epstein graduated from the School of Medicine, and they were married the following November.

For this reason, Susan feels a deep connection to Hopkins.

When David passed away suddenly in 2014, she created two scholarships by giving $250,000 to the School of Medicine to support a student who intends to pursue a career in academic medicine and research and $250,000 to the School of Nursing to support a student interested in patient advocacy and healthcare policy. 

“David was a scholarship student through all of his undergraduate and medical school education,” Susan says. “He felt a very keen responsibility to return that favor and pay it back, so that other young people could have the same opportunity that he had at Hopkins. After his death, I knew that this is the one thing that he would want to accomplish.”

Susan's time as a nursing student also had a profound impact on her life. “Good enough was not good enough,” Susan says of nursing school. “It didn’t matter if you were exhausted or you had worked three hours beyond your shift. There was no excuse for not providing absolutely top-notch nursing care. That demand for excellence pervaded everything I did afterward.”

Creating scholarships to give bright, talented students an opportunity to pursue their academic interests is a key priority of the Rising to the Challenge campaign.