Dorothy Zug Taylor’s Generosity ‘Pays It Forward’

Dorothy Zug Taylor

The late philanthropist and trailblazing politician continues to exert a positive impact on her community through a newly established scholarship fund for St. Luke’s nursing students.

Dorothy Zug Taylor created a significant endowment to provide St. Luke’s nursing students with scholarships. Her long-standing ties to St. Luke’s University Health Network date back to her time as a 1957 graduate of St. Luke’s School of Nursing. “Dotty,” as she was known to her friends and family, passed away in July 2023, following a lifetime of accomplishment and service to her community.

The newly established Dorothy Zug Taylor St. Luke’s School of Nursing Scholarship Endowment Fund will be used to provide scholarships to nursing students with demonstrated financial need and an interest in entering a nursing career in acute care or behavioral health. Preference will be given to first-generation, post-high school students who intend to work at St. Luke’s following graduation.

Her original “Pay It Forward” endowed scholarship fund to benefit the St. Luke’s School of Nursing was created in 2007 to support and advance the education of students and faculty members. The most recent endowment continues her long-standing commitment to providing educational opportunities for aspiring nurses.

“St. Luke’s and the School of Nursing deeply appreciates this latest example of Dotty’s commitment to the nursing profession. As a proud graduate of St. Luke’s School of Nursing, she has supported the school for decades. Through this most recent endowment, Dotty has ensured that countless students will be able to pursue a nursing education that would otherwise been out of their reach. Additionally, a nursing excellence award to recognize practicing registered nurses will be named in her honor,” says Carol Kuplen, former President, St. Luke’s University Hospital Bethlehem and Chief Nursing Officer.

According to her daughter, Dr. Kathryn Zug, her mother “always viewed her nursing school education as a door to growth and opportunity. Her generous gift for the scholarship program reflects her strong desire to promote that opportunity. She was very proud of being a nurse and her time working in public health and she was a strong believer in passing on the opportunity for education to others, viewing education as a critical pillar one could lean on for life.”

Following her graduation from nursing school at St. Luke’s, Dotty would go on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a nurse in Philadelphia before settling in Bethlehem and raising three children: Dr. Kathy Zug, Marty Zug and the late Charles Zug IV.

A generous spirit and a passion for helping others

Dotty was known to be a thoughtful and caring listener and counselor. She developed an early passion for politics, which she shared with her first husband, Dr. Charles “Charlie” Zug, III, a physician and chief of surgery at St. Luke’s until his death in 1982. The couple built deep relationships within the community, and, as a young wife and mother, she assumed many top leadership roles in both professional and community service organizations.

Frequently one of the only women in the room at political meetings and gatherings, Dotty broke barriers for other women. A political career that began in 1966 as a member of the Northampton County Democratic Committee saw her rise to the state level, where she was elected vice-chair of the party in 1976, and to the national level, where she was elected to the Democratic National Committee that same year. Following the 1976 election, she led the Pennsylvania delegation at the Democratic convention, and was one of the only female electors for then-candidate Jimmy Carter.

She served on the Democratic National Executive Committee after Carter’s election to the presidency and made frequent trips between her home in Bethlehem and the White House. In 1984, she was appointed to Northampton County Council, the first female to serve on the nine-member council.

She was also a trailblazer in the early application of computer technology in the early 1980’s. She and her second husband, Donald S. Taylor, designed, wrote and ran computer programs that digitized circulation for the former Globe Times newspaper that served the Bethlehem area.

“My mom lived a full and abundant life helping others,” adds Marty Zug. “She applied the skills learned and the attitudes she developed in nursing school throughout her life: attention to detail, data collection and use, listening, triage, critical thinking, continuing education, community welfare and belief in progress, innovation and science. Her nursing education helped instill those beliefs. Her world of understanding expanded with her nursing education, including understanding the role of government and community in health care and the health of people – the belief that care should be for all people, regardless of circumstances. Her gift brings all of this full circle.”

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