Trish Brown Cordes’ (LAS MS ’83) gift to DePaul reflects a major concern she felt during her 43-year career in health care helping patients and families navigate illness and cultural barriers. The Trish Brown Cordes Endowed Scholarship will provide recognition and financial assistance to students in the School of Nursing, dedicated to those who have demonstrated a commitment to work with the Hispanic community.
Brown Cordes, who has an undergraduate degree in Spanish from Mundelein College and would go on to earn an MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in public service from DePaul, spent the first half of her professional journey in a variety of social work and health care management settings. It wasn’t until she completed her BS in nursing at Creighton University in Omaha that she found her true niche working across multiple specialties as a nurse. It was her work with hospice patients that ultimately gave Brown Cordes her greatest professional and personal satisfaction.
Prior to returning to her Chicago home, she provided services for a growing population of Hispanic patients and families as the lone Spanish-speaking hospice nurse in a 17-county area in Central Indiana. “Preparing a person and their family for dying with grace, dignity and minimal discomfort is the mission of all hospice nurses,” Brown Cordes says. “Because of my fluency in Spanish, I have had the blessing of working with this very special population.”
Trish and her husband, Sam Cordes, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Purdue University, marveled during a recent visit to the nursing school at the simulation labs, where computerized mannequins are used to help educate nursing students. “I have always admired the core values of DePaul, especially its commitment to social justice and community service,” she adds. “Those values, along with the revolutionary educational approach Sam and I witnessed in the simulation labs, show how DePaul remains true to its mission and drives innovation in health care education.”
Her work—and DePaul’s—inspired Brown Cordes to make her generous and thoughtful gift. She is helping to pave a path to achievement for future generations. “Sam and I feel blessed that we are now in a position to support nursing students, especially those committed to serving our rapidly growing Hispanic population. It’s something that is very close to my heart.”