Celebrating 40 years of excellence

Julessa Oglen

Managing Editor

The Department of Nursing commemorated 40 years of nursing Thursday night with a dinner to reminisce on the progress the department has made since its first chartered class in 1973.

According to Dr. Shelia Adams, dean of the College of Nursing and Speech Language Pathology, the first chartered class only had 53 students. Since then, more than 5,000 students have graduated, and last year 400 students walked across the stage with a diploma.

The program has certainly come full circle, and the audience was able to hear from past graduates and the success they have had in their lives since they graduated from the top nursing school in Mississippi.

The highlight of the evening began with BSN nursing faculty, Barbara Bryan, who was part of the ASN graduating class in 1973 and the BSN graduating class in 1975.  She happened to come to MUW by chance, when it was called Mississippi State College for Women. She was interested in becoming a teacher, but when her mother pushed her to check out the new nursing program M.S.C.W. was offering, she was hooked.

“It has been an esteemed privilege to be a part of the W, and it has provided an instrumental foundation in my life, and I was honored to come back as a faculty member in 1999,” she said.

Laura Beth Herron Turner, also a BSN faculty member, graduated from the W in 2006 and came back to the W to receive her MSN in 2011.

“I believe this was the path God chose for me. No one in my family was a nurse,” she said.

She said the best part about being in the nursing programs was having instructors who not only cared about her work, but also her personal life. When she was a student, the faculty invested in her, and as a result she was able to finish and become a nurse practitioner. In 2002, she was able to teach at The W and do the same for her students. 

Senior nursing student, Sally Anne Tiernan, followed a different path to the W than her instructors. She was originally from Australia, and when she was young, she helped take care of her parents and that is where she believes she developed the caring spirit she now possesses.

At the end of the night, a $25,000 donation was given to the nursing foundation from Jeannie Colbert Oglesby, a 1974 graduate. Dr. Mary Pat Curtis, Theo Gordon and Dr. Mary Ware were also inducted into the 2013 Nursing Hall of Fame.