Honoring Others

From celebrating a granddaughter's achievements to memorializing a nurse's commitment to her profession, the following gifts illustrate how families and classmates are honoring others with gifts to the School of Nursing.

Martha Blackwell

Martha Blackwell 52N and husband Bernard

Partners in Nursing

Bernard Blackwell used to say he built the highway from Atlanta to Griffin, Georgia, where Martha Hayes 52N worked as a nurse at the county hospital. Blackwell met her at a church camp and drove regularly from Atlanta to see her. Now married for 56 years, the couple reared two sons and two businesses together.

After their children were born, Martha worked nights as a private duty nurse at Piedmont Hospital. “I lived on two hours of sleep then,” she says. “A friend and I decided to try something on our own with private duty nursing. We took a deep breath and opened a tiny office.” Thus, the Professional Registry for Northside opened to serve clients in need of nursing care from RNs and LPNs. In 1972, her husband established Blackwell and Associates, a personnel consulting firm. But as the demand for personal nursing care grew, Bernard shifted his business focus to establish a registry for certified nursing assistants. Although Martha is now retired, Bernard manages Blackwell and Associates from an office near Emory.

Throughout their careers, the Blackwells have been active in the School of Nursing. Martha participates in the Nurses’ Alumni Association, and Bernard serves on the school’s Campaign Emory committee along with Martha’s classmate, Betty Marie Stewart 52N. In 2002, Stewart led the creation of the Elizabeth Mabry Scholarship Endowment for her class’s 50th reunion. Mabry taught Stewart, Blackwell, and other nursing students for 35 years. Bernard made a gift to the Mabry Scholarship in honor of his wife’s birthday.

“I’ve always wanted to do something for Martha,” says Bernard. “When Betty Marie mentioned the Mabry Scholarship, I decided it was the best way to support the school and honor Martha. She loves the school.”

Martha aspired to be a nurse, even as a child. “When I came to Emory, Elizabeth Mabry was our medical-surgical instructor,” she says. “She wore her Duke nursing cap—she reminded us of the flying nun.”

Thanks to instructors like Mabry, Martha was qualified to become a head nurse at the county hospital in Griffin shortly after graduation.

“Emory means a lot to me,” she adds. “It gave me the knowledge and skills that I needed to practice nursing.”

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winter 2011