October 25, 2017

Today, Tomorrow… and Yesteryear

Before they left Alumnae Hall on May 19, 2016, the College of Nursing and Public Health administration and faculty celebrated transitioning from their longtime home to their new home, the Nexus Building, by remembering the wisdom shared and the accomplishments achieved.

A committee chaired by Patricia Donohue-Porter, M.S. ‘78, Ph.D. ’87, arranged a program that included a series of readings and observations by nurse leaders through the decades. Committee members included Charles Cal; Maryann Forbes, Ph.D. ’99; Marilyn Klainberg, Ed.D.; Deborah Murphy; and Elaine Smith, Ed.D. The lighting of a symbolic candle by three representatives—from the College’s faculty, administration and staff—and the planting of an azalea outside Alumnae Hall contributed to the occasion.

Dr. Klainberg headed a “Time Capsule Memories” initiative that calls for the capsule to be opened when the nursing program will be 100 years old. Many faculty members submitted written notes containing wishes and memories to be read at that time. In addition, Murphy designed a “Looking Back Through Time” photo exhibit featuring the Cadet Nursing Corps at the start of World War II, while Jane White, Ph.D., focused on “Transitioning With Excellence,” a reference to the National League for Nursing’s designation of the College as a Center of Excellence.

Construction of the dormitories was financed by the Federal Works Agency to house the largest cadet nurse contingent on the East Coast. What was East Hall became Alumnae Hall in honor of the Alumnae Association, while the West Hall residence was named Harvey Hall after Anne E. Harvey, a past Adelphi College dean (1912–1935). Before those L-shaped dorms were built seven decades ago—each with 50 rooms, administrative offices and recreation rooms—nursing residents had to make do with quarters in Woodruff Hall—which some had nicknamed Bed-Side Manor and Grand Central.

Decades later, the College’s faculty and staff laughed about the fact that shower heads from the building’s dorm era could still be seen in some faculty members’ offices. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in her 1944 dedication speech titled “The Challenge of Nursing for Young Women Today,” said prophetically, “I am very glad that in a time of war we can dedicate a building which, while it is dedicated to war service now, will continue to be of service to this college and this community after the war is over.”

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