By Dona Park
This past homecoming weekend, nursing alumni and current students gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Goshen College’s nursing department.
Goshen’s first nursing class of 1953 had eight students. All eight of the 1953 alumni passed their boards above the national average rate. As of 2013 a total of around 1,600 students have graduated with the major.
As familiar faces flooded into the celebration, memories were shared. Four of the original eight alumni attended the anniversary celebration and told of their experiences with going to Elkhart General Hospital for clinicals and riding in one car they called the “Grey Goose.”
Charlotte Hertzler Croyle, who graduated in 1953, was a member of the first Goshen College nursing class. She has gone on to hold positions at both Elkhart General Hospital and in geriatrics.
“It’s been fun to be back,” Croyle said.
Merv Helmuth, who taught in the nursing program at Goshen for 42 years, was also in attendance.
“Seeing past students and hearing of their accomplishments is always an exciting time,” Helmuth said. He said that Lynn Canal Kennell, class of 1976, “did an awesome job” of inspiring others with the importance of compassion as he spoke on the theme “Nurses in the World.”
Brenda Srof, department chair and professor of nursing, said she was “impressed with the number of class members who have accomplished substantial numbers of years in international mission work, and/or achieved graduate and even doctoral degrees.”
The growth and popularity of the nursing program has strengthened the department at Goshen College. The curriculum boasts many programs such as the RN to BSN completion track and the Master of Science program. The 60th anniversary serves as a reminder that excellence of the program has lasted throughout the ages.