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Summer 2001

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Reunion snapshots

     More than 1,000 alumni and family members gathered on campus—and at all the downtown nightspots—for Reunion 2001 this spring. The schedule was packed with golf, tennis, and softball; campus tours and exhibits; faculty lectures and workshops, from ceramics to prison policy to DNA forensics; class dinners and parties; awards celebrations; and even some big-time fireworks. Here are a few glimpses of the action:

Beverly Harrison Miller ’67, alumni board president, and Jamienne S. Studley, Skidmore’s president, lead the alumni award winners and parade of classes.

Professor Emerita Beverly Becker greets David Levine ’91, with wife Julie and daughter Sophie, at a luncheon for the Friends of the Presidents donor society.

Classmates from ’91, decked out in their tenth-reunion Skidmore rain parkas, join the parade of classes.

Class leaders from ’61 (with Oscar Tang, at right) celebrate their dedication of the Tang Museum’s main staircase in memory of their late classmate Frances Young Tang.

A young friend of the Schenectady Pipe Band lives by the motto “Let a smile be your umbrella.”

Strategic communications consultant Jill Shuker ’66 (at right) chats with an audience member after her lecture on the 2000 presidential campaign and election results.

Nursing memories

A special feature of Reunion 2001 drew one particular group of alumni to Scribner Library’s Pohndorff Room: an archival exhibit, called Educated to Serve, describing the college’s baccalaureate nursing program.

Marcia Cohen Tanzman ’76 and Mary Pat Roggenburg ’76 pore over old photos and documents from Skidmore’s nursing program.

A special feature of Reunion 2001 drew one particular group of alumni to Scribner Library’s Pohndorff Room: an archival exhibit, called Educated to Serve, describing the college’s baccalaureate nursing program.

With a grant from the New York State Archives, former Skidmore archivist Katherine Chansky returned for several months to arrange and catalog the records of the college’s nursing department, from which Ruth Greene-McNally, now a Tang Museum education assistant, created a reunion exhibit filling several library display cases. Along with her research among the documents and photographs, Greene-McNally also interviewed nursing alumni Ann Ferguson Cedarholm ’51 and Diane Fiske Haessler ’51, who lent a woolen nurse’s cape, snapshots, and other items for the exhibit.

Curator Ruth Greene-McNally poses between memorabilia lenders Ann Ferguson Cedarholm ’51 and Diane Fiske Haessler ’51.

In her text chronicling the nursing program, Greene-McNally elucidates the social and political contexts of the times, from wartime nursing shortages to cultural upheavals that opened medical schools to women. When Professor Agnes Gelinas and others initiated the nursing major in 1922, the profession was thriving, and Skidmore’s program soon expanded into four concentrations: pediatric, psychiatric, family health, and public health. By the 1940s the program was outgrowing its clinical partnership with rural Mary McClellan Hospital in nearby Cambridge, N.Y., and an affiliation was launched with York Post-Graduate Hospital in New York City. Skidmore’s nursing program, academically and clinically rigorous, was widely admired by hospitals, accrediting agencies, and rival nursing schools. Yet by the 1970s, societal changes and new career opportunities led to a steep decline in enrollments, resulting in budget deficits. In 1982 Skidmore trustees finally voted to close down the nursing major.

“From my research in the archives, I developed a keen regard for all nurses and for Skidmore nurses in particular,” says Greene-McNally. At first concerned that the archive wasn’t “big or beautiful enough,” she was relieved to find “more than enough images and artifacts” to do the story justice.

The exhibit’s opening drew a large, appreciative crowd of nursing alumni, who were invited to look through many other documents and photos along with those in the glass cases. Gathered together, those records—and those alumni—gave eloquent testimony to one of the finest chapters in Skidmore’s history. —SR

 


© 2001 Skidmore College