It was a joy-filled day of memories, activities and recognition for members of the 1966 and 1991 Jewish and Barnes School of Nursing graduation classes attending their 50th
reunions on Aug. 20. Alumni from near and throughout the country – some as far as Utah and Pennsylvania – joined the celebration. The day began with the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College summer 2016 commencement ceremony at Powell Hall. Seated right behind the new graduating class, reunion alumni wore corsages and were recognized during the ceremony.
Following commencement, alumni returned to Goldfarb School of Nursing for the reunion medallion ceremony and luncheon. Alumni received a medallion featuring the college seal on the front and the graduation year on the back. Medallions were adorned with a blue and yellow ribbon. During the ceremony, attendees were entertained with photos of themselves when they were students. As they received their medallions, individual pictures were taken.
Dr. Gretchen Drinkard, PhD, RN, interim dean, spoke enthusiastically of the pride inherent in alumni in both reunion classes, which was clearly on display as alumni received their medallions.
A special feature of the day was a short play re-enacting the life of Emily Elizabeth Parsons, a nurse who came to St. Louis from Massachusetts during the Civil War to care for soldiers housed here. The play, touchingly performed by Roxane McWilliams, was written by Elizabeth Pickard, director of interpretive programs at Missouri History Museum.
Following the luncheon, there were tours of Goldfarb Hall and the internationally-accredited Clinical Simulation Institute. “Many from the reunion classes were anxious to see our renowned simulation theaters,” said June Cowell-Oates, director of alumni affairs. “They didn’t have anything like that when they were students.”
“It truly was a special day,” said Cowell-Oates. “Alumni were able to renew their relationships with friends and fellow classmates. It was an opportunity to reconnect with each other." Several attendees echoed the sentiment, “I had a wonderful time visiting the campus and reminiscing,” wrote Nancy Verwers, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, who celebrated her 25th reunion.
Judy Garrison, Jewish School of Nursing class of 1966, expressed her thanks following the event. “I loved seeing the graduation and was really impressed with how the school has grown and changed to meet the needs of today's nursing advances,” said Garrison. “It reminded me that we are a part of a continuing tradition of excellence associated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital. It made me very proud and appreciative to be a part of such a school.
The reunion was planned by the Barnes-Jewish Alumni Association. Along with medallions and a glass box adorned with the college seal for storing the keepsake, memory books featuring stories from alumni for each reunion class were provided. Medallions and memory books will be sent to all members of the reunion classes who were not able to attend. “Thank you for giving us a beautiful event to remember and treasure,” concluded Garrison.
Save the date for the classes of 1967 and 1992 reunion on April 23, 2017. Contact Dr. June Cowell-Oates for more information.
Check out all of the photos from the reunion: