Dr. S. Randolph Scheen’s journey from foxhole to physician leads to supporting education

World War II experiences prompt $1 million donation to Norton Children’s Hospital

While S. Randolph Scheen Jr. was sitting in a foxhole during World War II, he had an epiphany. After the war, he wanted to do something to help people — preferably as a physician.

Fast-forward two years to 1944. The young veteran enrolled in the premed program at the University of Louisville thanks to the GI Bill. He then was accepted into medical school in 1949.

“Actually, that year there were some 4,000 applications for 90 places, and I was concerned I would not be accepted, so I also applied to Michigan State University School of Wildlife Conservation with plans to be a forest ranger or something like that,” Dr. Scheen said in a 1991 Kentucky Medical Association Journal article.

What followed were dermatology residencies at Cincinnati General Hospital and then the Mayo Clinic, where he also earned a master’s degree in dermatology from the University of Minnesota before returning to Louisville in 1959.

Through his journeys, Dr. Scheen cherished the importance of education.

“Education is important to helping one reach personal goals,” Dr. Scheen said. “In the world of medicine, it’s also important to advancing care for the community.”

When Dr. Scheen decided he wanted to make a transformational gift to a nonprofit organization, his daughters set to work researching options.

“We looked and looked, and nothing felt exactly right,” said daughter Anne DeMarco. “My sister, Ellen Corbett, and I then learned about the renovation project and construction of a conference center at Norton Children’s Hospital. We knew it was a perfect fit.”

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The Scheens know family members and friends who have spent countless hours, days and weeks receiving care at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute. They had heard the stories about the great work done by caregivers at the hospital and have seen great value in the compassion shown to the thousands of children needing medical care each year.

“Education, and supporting education for caregivers and medical students, is critical to ensuring children receive top-notch care,” Dr. Scheen said. “Without proper training and support, this is not possible.”

To support educational efforts at Norton Children’s Hospital, Dr. Scheen announced a $1 million gift to the Children’s Hospital Foundation to establish the S. Randolph Scheen Family Conference Center.

“It is our hope that here, medical professionals will receive the education and training they need to continue providing the care this community has come to know and expect,” Dr. Scheen said.

Randolph Scheen Family Conference Center

The new 7,000-square-foot conference center is under construction on the first floor of Norton Children’s Hospital and is expected to be completed in winter 2018.

“We know that education and training are essential to ensuring caregivers have the necessary knowledge to provide the highest level of care at Norton Children’s Hospital,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, chief development officer for Norton Healthcare. “As a regional children’s hospital with a commitment to excellence in education, this center will assist us in the critical role we play as the teaching hospital for the University of Louisville School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, as well as in the necessary training for allied health and nursing professionals.”

Construction of the S. Randolph Scheen Family Conference Center is part of a $78.3 million investment by Norton Healthcare to renovate several areas at Norton Children’s Hospital, including the “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center and two neonatal intensive care units. The project also includes the creation of the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. The changes will occur in phases, with completion in 2021.

Support from a friend

Elaine J. Wold, a dear friend of Dr. Scheen’s, learned of the conference center and thought it was a wonderful project. She also has lent her support by making a gift of $50,000 to the Children’s Hospital Foundation that will name the center’s atrium in recognition of the Wold family.