Georgia Baptist College of Nursing Alumni Day

October 15, 2021

We drove to the Mercer Atlanta campus and found the location for the alumni dinner and program. Upon walking in, we immediately found three longtime friends of Brenda's.

We sat down at the table with Peggy Cooper, Kathy Sitten, and Kathy's twin sister Beth Gallof. Peggy is a graduate of the Class of 1972, Kathy and Beth are graduates of the Class of 1981 and were roommates in nursing school. Brenda is a graduate of the Class of 1962. Sitting down, it was immediately worth the drive, and Brenda very much enjoyed the conversation with these friends.

We quickly found Susan Gunby and had a moment to chat with her.

We were watching for Debbie Miller to come in, and were able to chase her down to talk with her.

We found LaMae Williams and talked with her, and were joined by Janie Mercer. Janie is a friend and colleague of Bob Wade at Pinnacle. He had mentioned her to us before the gathering because she had asked him whether he thought Brenda would be coming to the Alumni event.

Then we were joined by Kathy Barfoot. This photo was taken by Janie and she passed it along to us by Bob.

It's always a pleasure to talk with Shirley Rollins. Brenda worked with her many years on the Alumni Board. Shirley was the one who actually presented the Edna Earle Teal Award to Brenda in 1988, see below.

Brenda kept running into friends. She worked with Mescal Hunt (center) for years and recommended her to the Alumni Board. Claudia Waters is a friend from student days.

Brenda talks with Dean Linda Strait and with Dee Strickland, this year's recipient of the Edna Earle Teal Award. It was awarded to Dee at the end of a 40-year plus nursing career, while it was awarded to Brenda in 1988, in mid career for her. Dee graduated from GBH Nursing in 1961, the year before Brenda.

We got to visit with Gwen Sherwood, which was a surprise. One of the speakers for the morning professional session had an emergency and had to cancel. They scheduled Gwen two days before the event, so we had no idea she was coming. Gwen and Art live in North Carolina. She has had a prominent career with the Nursing program at the University of North Carolina and has spoken internationally in Saudi Arabia, China, and other locations.

We had attended the Georgia Baptist Alumni Day in 1992, 1995, 2002 (100th Anniversary) , 2003 , 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 (Brenda's 50th Anniversary), 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019.

Some history of nursing awards by Georgia Baptist
Awana activities at MFBC

  Nave Album Go Back

Some history of nursing awards by Georgia Baptist

The Georgia Baptist College of Nursing has made significant efforts in recent years to recognize the history of the nursing program and to record the honors and recognitions that have been given to nurses. A recent effort has been to post plaques in the Nursing building on the Mercer Atlanta campus which record the history of significant nursing recognitions.

Brenda was awarded the Edna Earle Teal award in 1988. If the record on the plaque is complete, the first award was in 1974 and Brenda's was the third time the award was given.

Brenda recalls that she and Peggy Cooper nominated Pam Smith for the award based on her active history of mission trips. We got to know Pam well, and Rod taught her in the Physics for the Health Sciences course at Georgia State University during her nursing degree work.

We noted that it was Shirley Rawlins who presented the Teal award to Brenda in 1988 from her position of Associate Dean of the Nursing School, and that Shirley herself received the award in 1999.

In 2002 a new award was institued called the Community Health Service award. Shirley Rawlins was the first recipient of that award in 2002. Brenda was the third person to receive the award in 2003.

Brenda's position at Georgia Baptist Hospital and the other administrations that followed was strongly connected to Community Health Service. She had started with Johnnie Forgay in the Discharge Planning department in about 1977, but by 1983 she was Director of Discharge Planning and soon became Director of the combined services of discharge planning and social work in the Department of Continuity of Care. By 1994 that was a well-established department with a large staff.

Brenda had published an article in "Home Health Care" in 1995 and made a presentation at the Medtrade meeting in Chicago.

Another connection to Community Health Service for Brenda came with her diagnosis with breast cancer in 1977. With the general attitude of "don't waste your sorrows", she became active in the "Reach to Recovery" program for visiting others who had the experience of breast cancer. In 1999 she was interviewed by Channel 11 news about her breast cancer experience.

Brenda was also inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2003.

In 2011 Brenda received the Distinguished Alumna Award. She was certainly in distinguished company with that award. The first award had gone to Lib Perry in 1990. Of those with whom she had become closely acquainted, Lib was followed by Susan Gunby in 1991, Shirley Rawlins in 1991, Gwen Sherwood in 1993, Merle Griffin in 2006, and Kathryn Ransbotham in 2008. Then Johnnie Forgay received the award in 2012 and Anne Newton received the award in 2015.

Contributing to Brenda's selection for both the Community Health Service award and the recognition as a Distinguished Alumni was her national role in the American Association for Continuity of Care. She served as National President in 1995, after having been very active in the organization for several years. She attended an AACC meeting in Las Vegas in 1992 and another in Orlando in 1993. She had served on the National Board of AACC in 1993. She was inducted into the national presidency in the fall of 1994. She continued an active role in AACC, receiving their Sarah Craig Award in 1997 and attending the national meeting in Boston in 1998.

Ashleigh's White Coat Ceremony at LSU Medical School

  Nave Album Go Back