Nursing Professor Mary Pabst Honored Posthumously at Convocation

June 14, 2016 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

A widely respected and admired member of the Elmhurst College faculty was honored posthumously during the College’s recent Nursing Convocation ceremony, which also celebrated the achievements of the inaugural graduates from the Nursing Master’s Entry program and more than 50 baccalaureate nursing candidates.

The ceremony, held on May 26 in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, opened with the ringing of the hash bell by the College’s chaplain, the Reverend H. Scott Matheney, and a procession led by nursing department faculty. During the convocation, graduates took part in a traditional pinning ceremony, received a blessing on their hands, and took the Spirit of Nightingale pledge.

Posthumous honors were given to Mary Pabst, founder of both the RN-BSN program and the Nursing Master’s Entry (NME) program and an associate professor at Elmhurst College. Pabst, who died in April of cancer, inspired the inaugural class of Nursing Master’s Entry students to unanimously nominate her to receive the DAISY Award. The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award was created by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died of such a disease at the age of 33, to express their gratitude to the nursing profession for the care he received.

During her presentation of the award, Nursing Master’s Entry graduate Debra Rodgers highlighted the continual care and compassion Pabst showed not only her students, but also her Elmhurst colleagues and the community beyond the College.

“She started the (NME) program with vision, determination and focus,” Rodgers said.  “She worried about all her students and the Department of Nursing to her very last days.”

Pabst’s son, Doug, accepted the award during the ceremony, which also was attended by his father, Dick. Later, Doug Pabst noted how much the ceremony, and the students’ success, would have meant to his mother.

“The students’ hard work and all the effort they put into it is a reflection of how much they cared, and how much my mom cared about them,” he said. “I know that my mom would be proud of their accomplishment.”

Terri Burch, director of the nursing program, credited Pabst with laying the foundation that would nurture and support the students all the way through to their licensing exams.

“Knowing that we started with the proper vision, and that we are taking the program to the next level of nursing, is very exciting,” Burch said. “At Elmhurst, we are able to provide an environment that allows our students to thrive and succeed.”

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