Beginning his professional career as a medical technologist, Jack Pennington, PhD, never imagining that he would one day teach nursing students. But serendipity, as Pennington sees it, changed his path.
In 1973, almost on a whim, he applied for and accepted a position as an adjunct faculty member at St. Louis Community College. Once in the classroom, Pennington developed a love for teaching and allowed it to guide the remainder of his career.
While teaching at the community college, Pennington encountered students from Barnes Hospital School of Nursing and from Jewish Hospital School of Nursing (legacy schools of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College) in his classroom. As it turns out, Pennington had a significant effect on Goldfarb’s students long before he joined the faculty here and became an important member of the nursing-education community in St. Louis.
Known to many of his students and colleagues as Dr. P, Pennington is also known as a man with a dry sense of humor, a kind heart, a willing to listen and a commitment to acting as a champion for his students. His dedication to Goldfarb’s students, faculty and staff was recognized during Goldfarb’s August 2017 graduation ceremony, when the Barnes-Jewish College Alumni Association presented Pennington with an Honorary Alumni Award—the fourth such honor given since the College founded the award in 2014.
Pennington’s 44 years of service as a teacher were also recognized at a party given in his honor to mark his retirement from Goldfarb. The sole non-nurse faculty member at Goldfarb, Pennington received from his fellow faculty the College’s nursing pin, the same symbol given to student nurses to mark their graduation.
Pennington says he will miss the students and faculty at Goldfarb. And we at Goldfarb will miss the contributions he has made to educating nurses. Pennington also says he will continue to let serendipity help guide his life—just as he always has.