Alumna Pat Waggener honored on National Philanthropy Day
Lexington, Ky. – November, 2008 – Regardless of the stage of life she is in, Pat Waggener has always believed in the importance of giving back – which is why the College of Health Sciences recently honored Pat at the Bluegrass Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals luncheon.
Pat was raised in Versailles. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology in 1961. After graduation, she ran the laboratory for Matthew Darnell, MD, a local internal medicine physician. By 1965, Pat was blessed with two children and by 1967, a third had arrived. Once her children were settled and the oldest in school, Pat returned to work at Good Samaritan Hospital Laboratory for what later became International Clinical Laboratories.
Pat continued working and, along with her husband, caring for her three children. In 1970, she started running the Good Samaritan Hospital School of Medical Technology educational program. While in that position, Pat recruited, lectured and supervised the training for medical technology students.
“The College of Health Sciences had a great impact on me when I was teaching,” Pat said. “Knowing I had the support of the college – as well as experts in the field - was great. I loved being exposed to new information through the college.”
Suddenly, at age 31, Pat lost her husband in a plane crash, but never lost sight of the woman she wanted to be.
As Pat’s career and life evolved, she began to consider returning to school. When she was 40 and her children were either completing high school or entering college, Pat began taking the prerequisite classes she needed to earn her master’s in business administration from UK. In 1987, she attained that degree and still can be found consulting with small businesses on human resources issues.
Through it all, Pat has volunteered her time for numerous causes in and around Lexington. She has been a volunteer at Central Baptist Church, has worked with the Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and has donated her time to numerous other civic organizations. Currently, Pat is on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Arboretum. In that organization, she has assisted with membership, public relations, development and communications duties. She is also a 25-year member of Altrusa, an international women’s service organization. Some of the Pat’s favorite Altrusa activities include Operation Read, which teaches adults to read and collects books for Head Start children; Mighty Moms, a program that gives moms of special needs children a weekend of pampering; and Brains and Bellies, an effort to provide books and food for families in need. Pat also volunteers at God’s Pantry and is a member of a local garden club. Pat has served in leadership roles, including president and vice president, of many of those organizations.
“I just always thought I should give back to my community,” said Pat. “It was as important to me as taking care of the children or keeping up the house. Even as a single parent, I wanted to contribute to making my corner of the world a little better.”
Pat has been honored by the UK College of Health Sciences in the past as an outstanding alumna. She is a current member of the college’s philanthropy board, has served on the 40th Gala planning committee and was inducted into the College of Health Sciences Hall of Fame in 2005. Pat also was part of the committee that solicited for funds to build the new College of Health Sciences – a move that enabled the nine divisions of the college to be housed in one location for the first time.
When she isn’t working or volunteering, Pat loves spending time with her husband of six years, Don Waggener. Together, they have six children and fourteen grandchildren.