Nursing Alumni Group Gathers for Final Time at Wishard

Wishard Nursing Alumni Association hopes to bring alumni back for final Wishard event

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: 317.630.7808
Pager: 317.310.5972  
E-mail: Todd.Harper@wishard.edu

Indianapolis
, September 11, 2013 – It has been more than 30 years since the last nursing class walked the halls of Wishard Memorial Hospital. To mark this date, and to allow alumni one last glimpse inside the hospital before the move to the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus, the Wishard Memorial Hospital Nursing Alumni Association plans to host a homecoming event to bring all Wishard nursing school graduates back to where their careers began.

On Saturday, September 21, the Wishard Memorial Hospital Nursing Alumni Association will celebrate all Wishard Memorial Hospital School of Nursing alumni with a homecoming event starting at 8 a.m. 

Sharon Benefiel, vice president of the Wishard Memorial Hospital Nursing Alumni Association and a 1973 graduate, said trying to track down the nearly 1,000 addresses of nursing school alumni on file has been difficult. She is hopeful the homecoming event will help bring many of the graduates back to Wishard for one last time.

“Many graduates went on to distinguished careers in nursing throughout the United States and abroad including military and missionary work,” Benefiel said. “This year, the same year we move to the gorgeous Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus, a day of activities is planned including guest speakers, a memorial service and business meeting.” 

A number of alumni have stayed close to one another and to Wishard through the years. Today, a handful of them assist with activities at the Wishard Nursing Museum, which for the past 30 years has displayed hospital artifacts and nursing memorabilia, allowing the public to get a glimpse at what it was like to be a nurse 50 years ago. Many of the items will be moving to the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus when it opens later this year. The museum’s most visible claim to fame came during the 1980s when it was used to film various hospital scenes in the classic sports movie, “Hoosiers.”

As the first nursing school in Indiana and the second nursing school west of the Alleghenies, the Wishard Memorial Hospital School of Nursing’s history is impressive.  From the first class of five in 1885 to the last class of 31 in 1980, there have been more than 2,500 nursing students that have graduated from the school. The school of nursing has had many names over the years. Starting as the Flower Mission School of Nursing in 1883, it later became Indianapolis City Hospital, Indianapolis General Hospital, Marion County General Hospital and lastly, Wishard Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.  

For more information about the Wishard Memorial Hospital Nursing Alumni Association homecoming event, alumni are asked to call Sharon Benefiel at 317.450.4524 or email her at sharon.benefiel@wishard.edu.