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Featured Alumni

Eloise DeLap

May 2, 1931 - March 2, 2012
Jewish Hospital School of Nursing Class of '58
Distinguished Alumni '89

Eloise DeLap believed that being a dedicated nurse was "the most important thing in the world." Eloise retired in 1991, after 35 years in nursing education devoted to Jewish Hospital, but she remained passionate about the direction she chose as a young girl in West Frankfort, Illinois.

Each year following her retirement, Eloise still sent a gift to the scholarship fund endowed in her name. "That was the biggest honor I've ever had," said Eloise. It was not the only honor ever bestowed upon her. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and Jewish Hospital's Meritorious Service Award.

Former classmates and friends remember her single-minded commitment to nursing and teaching, in her own career path and those of students. "She was so supportive of everyone in our class," says Linda Kalkbrenner, class of 1958. "We saw her as the person we could go to for answers."

Another college friend, Barbara Helmer, class of 1959, fondly recalls the camaraderie between nursing, medical and dental students. "Those were wonderful times—the students were her life," recalls Helmer. "She lived and breathed teaching at that school."

Eloise was a self-described "avid" person regarding education, especially in nursing. "I don't think any person could possibly choose a better career." Her advice to students: "You need to be compassionate, listen and learn, and be kind to your patients. It's more than a job—you have the life of people resting in your hands."

Her hands touched the lives of more than 2,400 students through the years, as she supervised them on the Medical/Surgery floor at Jewish Hospital and imparted experience in the classroom at the Jewish College of Nursing. "Everybody liked Eloise as an instructor," says Brenda Ernst, former Executive Vice President of Nursing at Jewish Hospital. "She was so loyal—you rarely see that." Ernst also credits DeLap with re-energizing the nursing school's alumni association, where she served as president from 1969 to 1971, and from 1984 to 1988.

Eloise urged all alumni and professional colleagues to join her in opening the world of nursing to promising students who need financial assistance, as she needed throughout her own education. "It took me a lot longer to finish my BSN and my Masters because I worked all the way through and took a few classes at a time—so I understand the importance of supporting students and teachers in gaining higher knowledge."

You can establish a named, endowed nursing scholarship or enrich a general nursing scholarship fund through a planned estate gift to Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.



On November 2, 2011 Carolynn Hoffman opened her home to friends, family, student nurses and even Channel 5 news in support of the cause "Soldiers Wrap". Ms. Hoffman founded this group in 2004 wanting to do something for the troops who were not able to spend the holidays with loved ones. It began with a few stockings and has since grown to over 200 boxes that include gifts of toiletries, books and snacks.

With only one day to fill, wrap and package 200 gifts, Ms. Hoffman extended an invitation to nursing students at Barnes-Jewish College. With a break in their schedule, Goldfarb nursing students Amanda Timpe, Kelsey Birza, Mystery Hahn and Chuck Krone joined dozens of other volunteers at the home of Ms. Hoffman and spent several hours participating in the cause.

"The troops over there are away from their friends, away from their families," said Kari Kopp. "They're protecting us all night, all day and just to get a little gift from home, you know, something to get in the mail, you know, some candy, some little things. I think it really brightens their day."

Carolynn Hoffman graduated from Jewish College of Nursing in 1966.



Penny Bari, Barnes Hospital School of Nursing Class of ’61, and Brenda Ernst, Jewish Hospital School of Nursing Class of ’61, are not exaggerating when they say that nursing school was their entire world when they were students.

“All of us were right out of high school, we had to live in the dormitory together, and we weren’t allowed to get married,” recalls Brenda.

“My classmates and I had a weeknight curfew of 9 p.m. unless we were in our clinical training, which consisted of staffing our hospital at night,” says Penny. “There were no registered nurses on staff at those hours, only one or two nurses’ assistants. We students had to learn together how to quickly make judgments. Experience is a huge teacher!”


After graduation, Brenda went to work at the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis and stayed for 36 years, through its merger into Barnes-Jewish Hospital, until her retirement in 1998. She served 20 of those years as vice president for nursing.

Penny worked for four years at Barnes Hospital before marrying and taking a break to raise her two sons. After returning to Barnes in 1977, she held many roles, including head nurse in the telemetry and cardiac units, assistant head nurse in the pulmonary intensive care unit, and supervisor and clinical director of medical nursing, until her retirement in 1999.


Penny and Brenda believe deeply in supporting scholarships to strengthen the nursing profession. They both were able to attend nursing school because of scholarships and, ultimately, they both earned master’s degrees. Brenda established and continues to support the Brenda Ernst Nursing Education Endowment Fund to help Goldfarb students earn the degrees they need to be quality health care providers of the future.

“If my scholarship can help in any way to recruit new nurses as we face a severe nursing shortage…if I can help one student the way I was helped…that makes me happy,” she says.

Penny supports students in need through the Elizabeth McIntosh Scholarship Fund, which is named in honor of the first director of Barnes Hospital School of Nursing.

“I’ll always remember Elizabeth McIntosh in her starched white uniform and cap,” she says. “I admired her for the way she took a personal interest in each of us students. Her inspiration is why I’m committed to supporting the scholarship named for her—it’s a personal investment in people.”


Though “retired,” Penny and Brenda are living proof that nursing is a lifelong career.

“I’ve enjoyed remaining active in nursing education as a past member of the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association and a current member of the Goldfarb School of Nursing Board of Trustees,” Brenda says.

She also volunteers with the American Association of University Women, an organization that provides women with scholarships.

Penny provides blood pressure screenings at her church, volunteers for a program that screens underserved older adults for osteoporosis and depression, and has served as a team nurse on mission trips to Russia and Haiti. She is also a volunteer “patient” for nurse practitioner students at Goldfarb who are learning and practicing new diagnostic skills.

“No matter where life takes me, I will always be a nurse,” Penny says.


It is Brenda’s greatest hope that every student who receives her scholarship is as happy and satisfied with nursing as she was.

“I want my students to find their way in life. That’s what I found with my career in nursing,” she says.

As Penny hears from classmates while helping to plan her reunion, she is struck by the diversity of their careers made possible by their nursing education.

“Some are presidents and CEOs of hospitals,” she says. “Some are teachers and nurses who have chosen to stay by the bedside. Every single one demonstrates that our school has a rich heritage that endures. I hope the students who receive the scholarship I support find their nursing careers just as meaningful.”

Click on the video below to hear directly from Penny and Brenda about why it is so important to give to scholarships for students at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College:


To support scholarships at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, please contact The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital by calling 314.286.0600 or e-mail [email protected].



Luke Hubbard spent six years as a sales manager for a paint manufacturing company until he decided he needed a change.

“I liked the people part of sales, but not the selling part of it,” says Luke. So nursing was a natural fit! He completed his associate degree nursing program before moving to St. Louis, where he had been accepted into the one-year accelerated BSN degree program at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College.

Luke received the Institutional Scholarship and Parkview Scholarship through the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation. These scholarships helped Luke cover the cost of his education. This support allowed him to focus on excelling in the program’s fast-paced, intense course work. Luke also took an active role in student affairs, first as vice president, then as president of the Student Council.

After graduating, Luke did what Barnes-Jewish Hospital hopes many Goldfarb graduates will do–he joined the nursing team in the cardiac intensive care unit at Barnes-Jewish.

“I chose cardiology because the heart intrigues me,” says Luke. “The heart is basically just a pump with valves and tubes that runs automatically on its own electric current. It’s so simple and so complex at the same time.”

Luke credits Goldfarb for giving him a great foundation of nursing skills and knowledge. “Goldfarb provided me with the clinical experience and classroom education to hit the ground running when I started working at Barnes-Jewish,” he said.

When Jonathan Sadowski came to the Hospital for his heart-kidney transplant—the first ever at Barnes-Jewish Hospital—Luke was one of the nurses that cared for him before the procedure.

“For me, making someone happy by simply taking care of them to the best of my ability is light years ahead of making someone happy by selling them something,” he says. “In the ICU, I see people feeling their worst and it’s always refreshing to be able to transfer someone of our intensive care floor. I always jokingly tell my patients that I hope I never see them again when I transfer them out.”

To support scholarships at Goldfarb School of Nursing, please give to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation's Goldfarb School of Nursing Scholarship Fund (#0374) by clicking “Donate Now” above. If you have questions or would like to hear about starting your own scholarship fund or donating to other funds, please call The Foundation at 314.362.3499 or e-mail [email protected].



Sisters Nancy and Marilee Kuhrik have a unique opportunity: sharing their expertise as Siteman Cancer Center patient education coordinators with Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College students so that they learn to see themselves as “patient educators.” Many of their patient education initiatives at Siteman are supported by gifts to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.

For health care professionals, patient safety and appropriate treatment rely on the ability to share precise, technical information with each other. But the same terminology does not necessarily translate well with people undergoing treatment.

“The experience of having cancer or other serious chronic health problems can be overwhelming for patients and their caregivers,” Marilee says. “So information needs to be presented using plain language. This means health care professionals need to avoid medical terms and use simple vocabulary when teaching patients about tests, medications and other factors related to their care.”

The Kuhriks are doing their part to ensure Goldfarb graduates develop the skills and instincts to toggle back and forth between communication styles. As Goldfarb adjunct faculty, Nancy and Marilee developed curricula for and co-teach a new health literacy elective course for undergraduate students. Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health care decisions.

“This class introduces a crucial concept for Goldfarb students,” Nancy says. “In fact, it is in alignment with former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona’s call to improve health literacy in the United States.”

In this class, students learn to balance the complex medical information they are learning with an understanding of the difficulties that patients have when interacting with a highly compartmentalized health care system—and that it is imperative they are able to communicate with their patients in basic terms. Students also learn that their patients might be among the 90 million adults who lack the functional reading and math skills needed to navigate the United States health care system. Ultimately, Nancy and Marilee help their students recognize that each patient is experiencing a multitude of events in his or her life and that the illness or injury is just one component. Taking all of these factors into consideration helps nursing students better understand what their patients are experiencing and that the way patients receive information could help them stay healthy or even save their lives.

“When our students become RNs, having the knowledge that health literacy helps people to stay healthy will allow them to empower patients to manage their disease and lead better lives,” Nancy says. “And hopefully nurses with whom they work will witness the importance of health literacy during their interactions with our nursing graduates.”

Nancy and Marilee agree that imparting knowledge they have gained from working with patients within the Barnes-Jewish system for more than 30 years is rewarding. But they have not only shared knowledge during their careers; they have both also given annual charitable gifts to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation to support scholarship funds for Goldfarb students and funds for the Siteman Cancer Center.

“We both received scholarships and recognize that we would not have been able to complete our degrees and have such success in our careers without the generosity of others,” Marilee says. “Whether it is by financial means or by sharing knowledge and creative talents, giving is part of what the nursing profession must do for the next generation of nurses,” Nancy says.

After taking the Kuhriks’s health literacy course, one student, Lauren Karasek, said she was now “confident in her ability to teach patients and make their disease understandable for them."


Diane Watson, Barnes '79
Emily Watson, Goldfarb '11

There’s a scrapbook on 10200, a medicine nursing unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In it is a card announcing the birth of the head nurse’s daughter. The photo shows a dark-haired, red-faced newborn.

“That’s me,” says Emily Watson, BSN, to Beth Cotton, the current nurse manager and her boss.

Emily, a recent graduate of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, has come full circle - now working on the floor she visited many times as a child, and, in retrospect, where it seems she was destined to be.

Her mother, Diane Watson, now manager for patient care information systems at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, began working as a staff nurse at Barnes Hospital, after graduating from Barnes College of Nursing.

Diane was hired as the head nurse, known as the “clinical nurse manager” now, for the floor in 1986. In 1989, Emily was born.

“When she was little and I would get called in on the weekends, she'd come in with me and help the unit secretaries with clerical work,” Diane says. “Back then it was a treat to get to go to the cafeteria.”

Emily remembers helping to make copies and scans, and pulling bags of used linens up the hall for the nurses.

Though she always considered nursing as a possible career choice, she never felt particularly destined for it. Diane says she didn’t push Emily toward nursing and let her make her own career choice. In fact, through high school and into her first year of college, she considered a marketing career.

But looking back, she realizes a high school career day played an important role in her decision to choose nursing.

“At career day, I went to see the marketing guy and the nurses,” Emily says. “The marketing guy was dull and he was kind of boring. But the nurses were vibrant and a lot of fun.”

Eventually, she realized that nursing would be a better fit than marketing for her talents. After high school, she got a job at Barnes-Jewish as a unit secretary – on 10200. She was hired by Diane Cash-Warren, RN, who had worked as a staff nurse on the floor for Diane Watson.

Later, Emily became a patient care tech, on 10200, of course. The more she worked, the more convinced she became that nursing was right for her.

Helping her mom and working as a unit secretary didn’t prepare her for all aspects of nursing, however. For instance, during morning rounds of her first clinical rotation (which, coincidentally, was on 10200), the instructor and Emily and her fellow students walked into a patient room to be greeted by the patient as he sat on the commode. The patient continued his end of the entire conversation there.

“You don’t see that as the secretary,” she says. “You don’t get that physical interaction."

But she soon came to learn that was just part of the job for a nurse.

As a fresh graduate from Barnes-Jewish College who has successfully passed her nursing board exams, Emily is happy to continue on 10200.

“I’ve played a lot of roles on this floor,” she says. “I like the variety of patients we have here. We have a little bit of everything so you get to do more and see more.”

She enjoys the interaction she has with her patients.

“When you’re a tech, you have a lot of patients, so you don’t get to spend as much time with them,” she says. “As a nurse, you don’t have as many, so you get to hear their stories, you get the whole picture and get to find out what’s going on with them [clinically].”

She also likes the sense of teamwork on the floor.

“I really like being able to help my team,” she says. “We all help each other. Everyone pitches in."

She doesn’t know, yet, whether she’d like to follow her mother’s footsteps as a nurse manager, but thinks she’d like to eventually pursue a clinical specialty.

Meanwhile, Diane Watson is proud to see her daughter working on her old floor.

“As any mom, I am very proud of my kids’ accomplishments and I am very proud of Emily,” says Diane. “I am busting with pride.

“She is a very caring and compassionate young woman. I think she is where she needs to be.”

-Story by Kathryn Holleman

US News & World Report: Best Colleges, Nursing (BSN) Programs, 2022

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