Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College names James C. Wiggins, first-term nursing student in Goldfarb’s upper division Bachelor of Science in nursing program, as the first Dr. Donald M. Suggs Minority Nursing Student Scholarship awardee.
Suggs, oral surgeon, newspaper publisher and distinguished community leader, has served with distinction on Goldfarb’s Board of Trustees and championed academic achievement for all students. The scholarship bearing his name helps support the college’s commitment to enhancing recruitment and retention of undergraduate degree students pursuing nursing education who are from ethnic groups that are typically under-represented in nursing and nursing education.
“At Goldfarb, we are committed to educating future nurses who will lead in their profession. Our goal is to support a diverse student population and educate nurses who live and work in our community. By doing this, we help strengthen the profession while providing our student body with an inclusive atmosphere to learn within,” said Michael Ward, PhD, RTR, FASRT, FMoSRT, vice dean for student affairs and diversity, and professor at Goldfarb. Ward worked with Nancy Ridenour, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, FAAN, president and the Maxine Clark and Bob Fox dean and professor, to establish the scholarship.
Wiggins will receive a scholarship award of up to $25,000 as he begins nursing school this fall. A St. Louis native, Wiggins realized he wanted to be a nurse in his sophomore year of high school. Before enrolling at Goldfarb, Wiggins attended Fontbonne University. At Fontbonne, he was a student athlete, school ambassador, mentor for minority students, residential assistant, member of the Black Student Union and Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society. While studying and acting as a student leader, Wiggins also held two part-time jobs. Nevertheless, he graduated on time with a Bachelor of Arts degree in general studies with an emphasis in health care and dual minors in African American studies and psychology.
Wiggins is eager to begin working on his goal to become a BSN-prepared registered nurse. He plans to work as a pediatric nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and, ultimately, earn a graduate degree in nursing so he can work as a nurse practitioner. Wiggins said he his goal is to become a nurse who is committed to communicating effectively with patients and fellow health care team members, offering help, respect and dignity to those in need.
Wiggins was recognized at the St. Louis American Salute to Excellent Gala on September 29, where Suggs and Ridenour presented him with the scholarship award.