This is a sad week in the life of Ursuline College, as one of our own has died. Jackie, a member of our nursing faculty since 1973, was called home Friday of last week, and our campus mourns her loss.
Jackie was integral to the growth of our nursing education program, a program that has become almost synonymous with the words “Ursuline College” She assisted the math department when we undertook a total revision of our curriculum several years ago, and was an important spokesperson for the nursing program. She could always be counted on to work with faculty throughout the college and to communicate the needs and requirements of the nursing students to the rest of the faculty. I served on several committees with her, and recall fondly the enthusiasm she brought to her work. I know that I will be automatically reaching for the phone to call her about advising questions for a long time to come.
But it was not just advising questions that Jackie was there to help me with. She joyfully helped celebrate the adoption of my daughter and helped to welcome her into the extended Ursuline family. I recall her supportive words to me at times when I was lost as a middle age mother of a preschooler. Somehow, coming from a nursing professor, her assurance that it would all be fine made me feel much better. In the back of my mind, I sometimes thought that maybe she would teach my daughter as a nursing student some day.
I recall how several years ago I dislocated my shoulder while swimming at a public pool, only to find myself in a local emergency room with a graduate of Ursuline’s nursing program responsible for getting it back into its socket. I made some comment about how “I hope I didn’t fail you in statistics”, but deep down, I knew that I was in the best of hands. People like Jackie run an excellent program and turn out only the most competent nurses. I knew I would be fine, and I am. Our nursing graduates, all beneficiaries of Jackie’s teaching in one way or another, are scattered throughout Cleveland and the world, bringing top-notch health care to many. She leaves a legacy of graduates who will carry on her work for many years into the future.
I am reminded at this sad time of another professor whose life was cut short much too soon. My history professor from college, an inspiration to my own academic career, died suddenly at much too young of an age. He had a favorite quote that I think is appropriate as we mourn the passing of another great teacher. In the play “A Man for All Seasons”, the character Rich is contemplating a career as a teacher. He asks More “and if I was, who would know it?” The reply from Sir Thomas More says it all.
“You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public, that.”
Goodbye, Jackie. This mom of a young child will always appreciate the encouraging words you had to offer.