Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing kicked off a year celebrating its 90th anniversary Monday, Jan. 23, with balloons, cake and a tribute to the legacy of the school and its namesake.
“The School of Nursing is a living legacy of Ida V. Moffett and the standards she stood for,” said dean Nena F. Sanders, citing the late nurse educator’s devotion to academic excellence, caring, compassion and service.
The nursing school had its beginning on Jan. 22, 1922, after the Birmingham Baptist Association purchased a hospital and nursing school from Birmingham surgeon William Christopher Gewin.
The program has grown from a small house on the west side of Birmingham to being a vital part of Samford University campus, said Dr. Sanders. The school joined Samford in 1973 following a merger agreement with Birmingham Baptist Medical Centers.
The nursing school, which now enrolls about 700 students, has developed from a baccalaureate program to one that offers nationally-recognized master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice degrees. The school’s passing rate on the NCLEX nurse licensure exam is more than 90 percent, which is higher than the national average for nursing schools.
The kickoff celebration marked the beginning of a series of anniversary events in 2012. These include Moffett Nurse Network gatherings around the country and other events that will culminate with special programs during Homecoming weekend Oct. 12-13. “Celebrating the Living Legacy: 90 Years of Caring” will be the theme throughout.
The students and faculty and staff members who gathered Monday on the plaza of Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center for the Healing Arts released 90 red and silver balloons into a perfectly clear blue sky.
The balloons, said Sanders, recognize “the graduates of yesteryear” and those of the future.
Heather Richardson, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist graduate student from Jackson, Ala., was among future alumni enjoying the occasion.
“It’s great to be a part of Samford and to be a student during the nursing school’s anniversary year. You can tell what a great university it is by the way everyone cares about each other,” said Richardson, who said she is still learning about the amazing legacy of Mrs. Moffett. “I know that she cared about people. It is wonderful to be a part of her legacy, and to care about people and take care of people like she did.”