R e t u r n   t o   t a b l e   o f   c o n t e n t s

   

D e v e l o p m e n t   N e w s

 

Anne R. Bavier

 

Room to Grow in Scholarships

There's an old saying, "where there's a will, there's a way," that fits Ruby Hargis, 47N, to a tee. Now retired at 75, Ruby wanted to be a nurse since she was 5 years old. However, when Ruby reached college age, her adoptive parents could not afford to pay for her nursing education. Ruby found a way by enlisting in the Cadet Nurse Corps, which paid her full tuition at Emory during World War II.

If Ruby applied to our nursing school today, she could turn to Chrystal Jefferson, our new assistant director of financial aid. Chrystal's arrival is a welcome addition to the nursing school staff and marks a major step forward in our commitment to making a nursing education more affordable for our baccalaureate and graduate students.

Chrystal faces a daunting task. Although several grant and scholarship opportunities are available for our students, we need more scholarships. In 1999-2000, 44% of our undergraduates and 40% of our graduate students had to finance their education with loans. For our BSN graduates alone, the average debt for two years of nursing school is close to $22,000. That's much higher than the average debt incurred for four years by their fellow students in Emory College. Clearly, there's a tremendous need for scholarships to reduce the burden of debt for new nurses as they begin their careers.

Our alumni and friends hold the key to reducing that burden. In the past, many of you have created nursing scholarships through endowments, other major gifts, and bequests. A second option is contributing to our Annual Fund, which provides scholarships and programs for students. In 1999-2000, 1,130 nursing alumni contributed a total of $80,398 to the Annual Fund, with an average gift of $71.15. All of us can easily reach into our pockets and give more. If you'd like to make a donation, please call me at (404) 727-6917. With your help, we can make the the path to a career in nursing easier and more affordable for all of our students.


Anne R. Bavier, 73MN, FAAN
Assistant Dean for Development,
Alumni, and External Relations

 

 

 

It's easy to make a donation for scholarships online. Just visit the website at www.alumni.emory.edu/supportemory/waysofgiving.shtml.

 

Helen St. Clair loved nursing so much that, when she died at age 89, she still held an active nursing license.

 

 

For the Love of Nursing
St. Clair took pride in Emory and her profession

Whenever anyone met Helen Jackson St. Clair, 30N, for the first time, it didn’t take long for them to learn how she felt about her chosen profession.

"Helen loved nursing so much that, when she died at age 89, she still held an active nursing license," says her stepson, James St. Clair of Chesterfield, Missouri. "Every time she visited my father or anyone else in the hospital, she found some way to mention to the nurses on duty that she was a registered nurse who graduated from Emory's School of Nursing."

Born in 1910 in Decatur, Georgia, Mary Helen Jackson enrolled at Emory in 1926. Upon graduation, she worked for 17 years as a registered nurse in Atlanta. In 1947, she moved to New Port Richey, Florida, where she met and married Noah Swartsel. After his death, she married Mark St. Clair in 1962. She spent five of the last few years of her life caring for her husband, who was bedridden after several strokes, until he died in 1996.

Before her own death in 1999, Helen decided to name the School of Nursing as a beneficiary of her revocable trust. "She wanted to express her appreciation to the school for the excellent training she received there and for all the happiness and pride that being a registered nurse had given her through the years," says James. "She was knowledgeable, patient, and caring. There was nothing that pleased her as well as taking care of people."

 

Emory has been like a family
to Ruby Hargis, 47N, who has strong personal and professional ties to the university.

 

 

Blessings from Emory
Hargis repays kindness with building gift

Ruby Hargis, 47N, would say she became a nurse by the grace of God. When she reached college age during World War II, the aunt and uncle who raised her could not afford to send her to nursing school. Fortunately for Hargis, the US government established the Cadet Nurse Corps to recruit and train nurses to support the war effort. She joined the corps, which paid her full tuition and a monthly stipend, and enrolled in the Emory University School of Nursing in 1944. "I felt that God was looking after me," she says.

Attending Emory's nursing school during World War II proved to be an excellent career path. Because so many physicians and nurses were serving in the military, Emory University Hospital was operating with a skeleton staff. During her last six months of nursing school, Hargis was head nurse of the eye, ear, nose, and throat department.

Her relationship with Emory continued for many years after her graduation and included working with doctors like Mason Baird, who was instrumental in starting the Grady Clay Eye Clinic at Grady Hospital. She also married Edward Dawson McDonald, an associate professor at the Emory School of Dentistry. Hargis spent part of her career at Georgia Baptist Hospital, where she worked on the medical floor and later assisted ophthalmologist Cyrus Stoner, 31C, 32M, in surgery. Sadly, Ruby's husband suffered a fatal heart attack while working at the dental clinic in 1972. The Emory community responded by looking after Ruby and her two daughters, Cris and Claire.

Ten years later, Ruby married Robert Hargis, a longtime Emory staff member whom she had known during World War II, when he walked the nurses to Harris Hall Annex after their evening shifts ended at Emory Hospital. The year she remarried, Ruby left Decatur Hospital to work on the ophthalmology floor at Emory Hospital until she retired.

After Robert's death in 1991, and her aunt's death in 1992, Ruby moved to Rome, Georgia, to be close to her daughter, Cris. There she found her second calling with Saints Alive, a program for seniors at First Presbyterian Church. As founder and head of the program, she organized trips, dinners, and other get-togethers for older church members. She relinquished those duties two years ago and now spends her time traveling and assisting elderly neighbors in her community.

Although happily living in Rome, Hargis says her feelings about Emory have never wavered. To show her appreciation, she provided a gift to furnish a faculty office in the new building for the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The office is named in honor of her first husband, Edward McDonald. She also has named the school in her will.

"Kate Lewis, my aunt who raised me, came to work in the housekeeping department two months after I decided to go into nursing," explains Ruby. "She loved Emory with a purple passion for the 25 years she was employed. Dr. McDonald was associated with Emory for 33 years, and Mr. Hargis served Emory for more than 45 years. Both of my daughters attended college at Emory, and I feel indebted to Emory for the start it gave me. Emory has been like family to me, and because of its loyalty, my daughters and I wanted to give something in return."

 

 

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