FHSU's Nursing Department to conduct 50th birthday celebration along with conference on research

A day to highlight research in nursing will also be a day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Department of Nursing at Fort Hays State University and Leora B. Stroup, the pioneering military nurse who started FHSU's nursing program from scratch on Sept. 1, 1952.

Research Day, Wednesday, May 8, officially begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Fort Hays Ballroom of the university's Memorial Union with a welcome from President Edward H. Hammond, followed by a message from Hays Mayor Henry Schwaller IV, who will sign a proclamation recognizing National Nurses Week and the 50th anniversary of the department.

The conference on nursing research begins just after 9 a.m. when the keynote speaker, Dr. Pamela Brink, editor of the Western Journal of Nursing Research, speaks on "The Past and Future of Nursing Research."

Morning sessions on nursing research will be followed by a special luncheon in the union's Black and Gold Room to honor past and present leaders, faculty and staff of the Nursing Department.

Following afternoon conference sessions, a brick in the Contemplation Garden will dedicated at 4:30 p.m. to the memory of Stroup, founder of FHSU's nursing program. Dr. James Forsythe, university historian, will be the featured speaker at the event.

Stroup was hired to begin a program of nursing at FHSU in answer to requests from hospitals and community leaders across western Kansas, which in the late 1940s and early 1950s was experiencing a severe shortage of nurses.

Stroup, who was a major in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II, was a pilot and became the world's first nursing instructor in air evacuation. This was after she made more than 40 evacuation flights across the Pacific Ocean with wounded soldiers.

When FHSU's nursing program began, she was not only the director but also the only faculty member, teaching all of the first three nursing courses to that first class of 16 students.

After the Contemplation Garden dedication, Dr. Hammond will officiate at the unveiling of portraits in a Gallery of Leaders in the Stroup Hall foyer, which will include a display of memorabilia from Stroup's career in the Army and at FHSU.

A reception and refreshments will follow the unveiling.

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu