Transformational $1 Million Donation in Honor of Andrea Lewis Siek, RN will Support Nursing Education, Careers at St. Peter’s

At a special gathering on Saturday, May 11, at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom in Troy, local philanthropist Richard Siek announced he was making a more than $1 million donation to St. Peter’s Health Partners’ (SPHP) Mission Scholars Program in memory of his late wife, Andrea Lewis Siek, RN. The announcement was followed by an unveiling ceremony, where the Mission Scholars Program was renamed the Richard E. Siek & Andrea Lewis Siek, RN Mission Scholars Program.

Siek chose to make the donation on May 11, in celebration of what would have been his and Andrea’s 50th wedding anniversary. It also happens to fall during National Nurses Week, celebrated each year from May 6-12.

“Andrea worked for many years as a nurse and loved helping and comforting people. She told me that was the happiest time of her life,” said Siek. He noted that although Andrea’s nursing career was cut short due to health issues, she continued to help people wherever and however she could.

“She was very humble and preferred to do so anonymously, or with as little notice as possible. Certainly, without fanfare or the want or need of recognition,” said Siek. “Although her heart was diminished in physical size and functionality – it was the largest and most loving heart I have ever known.”

Since Andrea’s passing on March 16, 2017, Richard has made it his mission to keep her memory alive, and to carry on with what she liked to do best – helping people. In Andrea’s name, he has supported various health care initiatives and nursing scholarships throughout the Capital Region.

“When the Mission Scholars fund was established in 2016, the goal was to foster professional and personal growth for exceptional colleagues at St. Peter’s Health Partners who have an unfailing record of providing outstanding service, delivered with compassion, and whose actions are consistent with our mission,” said Peter Semenza, vice president of philanthropy at St. Peter’s Health Partners. “With this generous gift from Richard, this program will only continue to grow and provide a ladder of opportunity to colleagues from any area within our system of care looking to pursue their nursing passion.”

From left: Cheryl Rankey, major gifts specialist; Richard Siek; Dr. Steven Hanks, president and CEO; and Peter Semenza, vice president of philanthropy.

“As I have often said throughout my career, it is simply impossible to overstate the importance of nurses to the delivery and quality of health care, to patient safety, and to positive patient outcomes,” said Steven Hanks, M.D., president and CEO of SPHP and St. Joseph’s Health. “At a time when the nation is facing unprecedented nursing shortages in the healthcare workforce, Richard’s gift is a timely, fitting and lovely tribute to his beloved Andrea. You have our eternal gratitude, Richard.”

In recognition of the transformational gift, St. Peter’s Health Partners chose to rename its Mission Scholars fund the Richard E. Siek & Andrea Lewis Siek, RN Mission Scholars Program. The program will assist students in their quest to become highly skilled nurses, through scholarships offered at Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing and St. Peter’s Hospital College of Nursing. Andrea was a 1966 graduate of Troy High School and 1969 graduate of St. Peter’s Hospital School of Nursing.

“The way that Andrea chose to live a life of caring and service is a true inspiration and example for future generations of nursing students,” said Dr. Susan F. Birkhead, director of SPHP’s Schools of Nursing. “I cannot express how deeply grateful I am for Richard’s generous donation, which honors Andrea’s legacy and ensures that the comfort, hope, and solace she brought to her patients lives on in the caring, healing touch of the nurses that will pass through our doors.”

The Sieks are a true love story, with roots at Samaritan Hospital in Troy in the 1970s. They met while employees there; she was a charge nurse, and Richard was a custodian. When illness forced Andrea to retire early, she continued to be an advocate for the nursing profession and the importance of carefully trained, highly skilled nurses. Richard went on to a distinguished military and civilian career, including more than 36 years with the U.S. Navy Seabees. But, he would always say his most noteworthy achievement in life was being the husband of a Registered Nurse.

To quote, in part, from the plaques that will be hung in honor of the Sieks: “Their devotion to each other and to all those who were fortunate to have crossed paths with them will be forever a part of the mission of our organization. Their legacy of helping others will continue to have a huge impact on countless nursing students, their families, patients, and the entire healthcare community for years to come.”


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