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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Nursing Recipients

Distinguished Alumna in Service to Nursing Award

Barbara Dunphy LentBARBARA DUNPHY LENT, NURS '64

Fond du Lac, Wis.

As a community activist, Barbara Lent has devoted her life to helping others. “I do what I do because I strive to see the face of Jesus in those I serve,” she says. She learned this lesson from her grandmother and mother, who were nurses. Barbara’s mother was especially inspirational because she had a “real nurturing influence on neighbors, friends and members of the Hartland (Wis.) community.”  

Marquette strengthened Barbara’s commitment to service. There was no doubt she would enroll at the university. Her father was a proud engineering alumnus, thus, she “never dared even look at another college or university.” While at Marquette, the Ignatian message of finding God in all things deeply impressed her.   

Barbara found a partner who shared her passion for service. Her husband, John, also was imbued with Jesuit ideals at the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University’s Medical School.  That and their mutual health care backgrounds motivated the duo to dedicate themselves to righting health- and wellness-related injustices at home and abroad. Barbara immersed herself in causes in the Fond du Lac, Wis., area, ranging from domestic violence initiatives and organ donation awareness to anti-smoking campaigns and charitable food programs. Additionally, she and John founded United Hearts for Health, a partnership linking her local community with the poor in Rosita, Nicaragua. For 11 years, they have led teams of physicians, nurses and dentists to Rosita to provide health care in the surrounding rural areas while maintaining clean water projects for Rosita’s hospital and impoverished neighborhoods.

Fun facts about Barbara:
Hometown: Hartland, Wis.
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Barbara: Rosemary Kangre and Rev. Bernard Cook, S.J.
Favorite Marquette memory: "Walking into the Union to meet friends, fraternity and sorority dinner dances, and attending Mass at Gesu."
In grade school, Barbara wanted to be a nurse, like her mother and grandmother.
Most influential person in her life: Her husband, John