School of Nursing Program in Wisconsin Celebrates 100 Years

In 1914, the Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Marshfield founded its School of Nursing diploma program. The three-year program trained nearly 2,500 nurses for the first 74 years of its existence until 1988 when it evolved into a four-year nursing degree program in association with the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.

Last month the school commemorated its 100-year anniversary and more than 90 nurses and their guests gathered in Marshfield at the American Legion Club to celebrate. Several graduates of the program were honored during the commemoration including 97-year-old Marion Bahr Wein, who graduated from the program in 1939.

Nurses who graduated during the final three years of the original diploma program in the late 1980s were recognized with a rose and a commemorative gift. There was also recognition of the Class of 1964 as 50-year honorees. Several alumni got together on the morning after the celebration for an informal breakfast at a local restaurant so that they could continue visiting with each other and discussing their lives and nursing careers.

The commemoration was a celebration of the program’s 100-year history but the School holds a yearly celebration for its nursing graduates every year. This year, however, it members decided that since the alumni group is constantly changing and expanding and having to deal with the aging of its members and an ever-evolving professional environment, the annual event needs to be more accessible.

Going forward, the subsequent celebrations will be held during daytime hours rather than at night. Also the 50-year anniversary class will be marked as the hosts each year and as such will be responsible for planning the events of the day. Graduates travel to Wisconsin from all over the country to attend the event every year and the School wants to make sure that it is accessible as possible for all of the nursing graduates.