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Arthur B. Ancker Nursing School memories can be submitted by filling out the form at the link below. Memories will be reviewed and posted as to the website as space allows. If you have any questions, please contact Keevan Kosidowski by email or at 651-254-3126.
The Arthur B. Ancker Memorial School of Nursing
Class of 1976: The Last Class
30th Reunion: November 25, 2006
By Class President Nancy (Goff/Carruthers) Huisenga
The Class of 1976 started with 120 students in 1973 and graduated 65 men and women who went on to pass their RN boards and practice nursing. It was one of the last programs in the State of Minnesota to close its doors in favor of two-year associate degree and four-year degree programs. It was the end of an era.
In the 30 years since, our class finds itself spread across the United States, with classmates in Washington, Florida, Utah, California, Wisconsin, Arizona and Minnesota. There are a few who have left nursing for other occupations, including working for airlines, private businesses, medical corporations, raising children and more; but many of our classmates remain in hospitals, clinics and schools in Minnesota and beyond. Some nurses teach, others are involved in computer technology at the hospitals, some work at hospitals in smaller towns and even some are directors of nursing.
Many classmates began their careers at what was then St. Paul Ramsey Hospital and since then several have remained at Regions. Sheila B. received her nurse-midwife certification and has delivered over 10,000 babies at Regions Hospital. Terry C. is a staff nurse and works with Sheila in Labor and Delivery at Regions. Nancy H., class president of the Class of 1976, worked until 1991 in coronary care and then with Cardiology Research at Regions (then Ramsey Hospital) before moving into medical research with research organizations and corporations in Maple Grove, White Bear Lake and even the San Francisco area. Many graduates have gone on to receive higher education and today hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
We took the time to honor four classmates who have died. Losing Laura, Randy, Sondra and Janice caused us all to stop and ponder the shortness of their lives and the hole left in the night of the reunion. The silence was seen. But they, along with all the other Ancker graduates who have gone, are still with us.
We sang the Florence Nightingale Pledge and got through it. We laughed and told stories of dorm life (now that the dorm is being taken down, they are even more meaningful), recounted experiences with different teachers and sighed as we thought of the large tapestry of the Ancker nursing pin that our teachers made for our class, which can be found in the emergency department at Regions Hospital, under the eye of the many Ancker grads still working there.
Our reunion was a simple dinner at a St. Paul restaurant with no entertainment no guest speakers and no dance music. The noisy story-telling, the hugs, remembering school days and traditions like being pinned and capped by our big sisters, the blue-and-white pin-striped and apron uniform, white nylons and white uniform shoes. Those days are gone, but they live on in the rich memory of generations of three-year diploma nurses who lived, studied and worked at Arthur B. Ancker Memorial Hospital. Then the name changed to St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, then Ramsey Medical Center, then Regions — the names and size and scope of the institution have changed, but not the high quality, the character and the mission. We are all proud to be graduates of this impressive institution and proud to recall our Class Motto in 1976: They Saved the Best for Last. In reality, we are all a part of the best: ALL of the graduates of the Arthur B. Ancker School of Nursing.
We thank Regions Hospital for making our reunion even more special with a red rose donated by Regions and given to each of the 41 graduates who were able to attend the reunion. Thanks also for the items from the early years of Ancker School of Nursing, which were very meaningful. Next time, we hope to have all 61 remaining graduates of 1976 there and include a tour of our hospital. We want to stay connected to the place that made it possible for us to be proud nurses.
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