Jill Alsgaard vividly remembers being 6 years old and watching her mother graduate with her master’s degree in nursing. Now, on May 7, Alsgaard’s 6-year-old son will watch both of his parents walk across the commencement stage together at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts as they graduate from the School of Nursing’s master’s program.
Alsgaard and her husband, Trung Le, met while working in the Intensive Care Unit at UConn Health’s John Dempsey Hospital and were married in 2016. The couple bleeds blue not only as UConn Health employees, but as UConn alumni as well, as both previously earned other degrees through the School of Nursing.
“We were very good friends for some time, then it evolved,” Alsgaard ’20 MS says.
They have received special permission from the School of Nursing to walk across the stage together, rather than individually, at commencement. Alsgaard will be graduating from the Post-Master’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certificate program, while Le ’13 (NUR) will receive his degree from the Master of Science Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program.
Previously, Alsgaard attended Capital Community College for her associate degree in nursing, and then Central Connecticut State University for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As a new graduate, she began working at UConn Health in the ICU. Alsgaard then continued to UConn’s School of Nursing to pursue her Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner degree.
“I graduated from that program in the height of the pandemic, May 2020,” Alsgaard says. “I had formulated a plan early on in those studies to continue with the Post-Master’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certificate program.”
Alsgaard says she plans to take some time off following commencement, giving her time to take her board examinations this summer and hopefully resume working at a local hospital. In fall 2023, she hopes to continue working toward her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, which she began taking courses for during her last semester of the master’s program in 2020.
Le attended Muhlenberg College for his Bachelor of Science in biology. After working at a handful of laboratories, Le began working at UConn Health in the 1990s. He then went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in nursing through the UConn accelerated Certificate Entry into Nursing program. Le is now also enrolled in the UConn Doctor of Nursing Practice program but plans to take some time off following his graduation from the master’s program.
“We have been through some incredible things over the past few years,” Alsgaard says. “Lots of effort, courage, and tears have gone into this process. Our priority right now is our family, growing and enjoying life, as we all have given up just a bit to make this happen.”
Alsgaard and Le have six children, some from previous marriages. Their youngest son is 6 years old, and their oldest, Le’s daughter, will be graduating from UConn’s School of Engineering next year. The couple says they are excited for their whole family to watch them graduate together on May 7.
“I think it’s a pretty awesome feat that we have accomplished,” Le says. “We think it’s even cooler that our children get to see us graduate, together.”