LIVONIA - In 1992, Ted Picano was a busy Madonna nursing student who also worked in critical care and the cardiac catheterization lab at Botsford General Hospital, now Corewell Health, in Farmington Hills. One particular day he was trying to register for a class that he needed to graduate that December. He went looking for help and found Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, then academic vice president. With her assistance, Picano was able to enroll in the class and complete important paperwork needed for graduation.
Because Picano had 13 years of nursing experience before he came to Madonna, he soon realized that Madonna offered something special. “As seasoned nurses, we all know what to do for our patients. As professional nurses, we also know why those things are done. That is what we learned at Madonna.”
Citing a sense of gratitude “for being at a school that was there to really help all students,” Picano has been an enthusiastic annual donor to Madonna since graduation. He continued working at Botsford, eventually leaving in 1998 to relocate to warmer climes. Continuing his nursing career in Georgia, California, and North Carolina, Picano spent several rewarding years working at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., before retiring in 2014.
When he learned of Sister Rose Marie’s death in December 2022, Picano immediately remembered her kindness and the important help she had given him 30 years earlier. Instead of making his usual annual gift, he decided to create an endowed scholarship in her name. “It’s an opportunity to make a more profound statement on what the school has strived for during its history,” Picano explained.
Originally, he thought it should be a scholarship only for nursing students but then decided that Sister Rose Marie would have wanted it to be available for students in any major. “She was inclusive,” he recalled.
The Sister Rose Marie Kujawa Endowed Scholarship Fund is a fitting legacy for one whose wisdom guided and sustained Madonna University for so many years.