Celebrating the past, present and future of nursing at CWRU

It was an evening 100 years in the making.

Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing celebrated the centennial of the school’s namesake endowment with a gala and scholarship kickoff celebration at Tinkham Veale University Center Oct. 14.

During the program, the Dean and Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor of Nursing Carol Musil announced a $5 million scholarship campaign that will benefit students pursuing degrees in nursing at Case Western Reserve University. 

Musil also revealed a $1 million commitment from Beth and David Daigle to establish a Clinical Scholars Excellence Fund, which will be used to recruit and retain doctorally prepared, clinically focused faculty. The Daigles’ daughter, Celia, is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the school.

“Scholarships are a critical part of our students’ education and why we continue to seek financial support from our alumni and donors,” Musil said. “From the moment Frances Payne Bolton decided to help establish an independent school of nursing in 1923, we have fostered a dedication to experiential learning, research and leadership that has advanced the nursing discipline beyond what Frances could have imagined.”

The gala focused on the school’s past, present and future, with alumni and guest speakers reminiscing on their experiences at the school while raising funds for student scholarships. The evening also featured a live auction, which raised over $15,000.

Emmy Award-winning journalist and radio host John Telich emceed the event.

Interim Provost Joy K. Ward opened the evening, noting her personal connection with the field as her mother is a nurse. Case Western Reserve President Eric W. Kaler was also in attendance to greet guests at a pre-dinner reception.

Reminiscing on the past while looking to the future

By providing the resources for a stand-alone, university-based nursing school rooted in systematic inquiry and rigor, Frances Payne Bolton ignited an entirely new approach to nursing practice and education.

And in the 100 years to follow, the School of Nursing transitioned from a hospital-based institution focused on teaching and clinical education at the former Lakeside Hospital Training School to one defined by scholarship, research and driving change in healthcare.

The school recognized the influence of Bolton’s gift over the decades by welcoming three former deans back to campus—Joyce Fitzpatrick (1982-1998), May Wykle (2001-2011) and Mary Kerr (2011-2018)—as well as prominent alumni, including Barbara L. Nichols (GRS ‘66, nursing), Erika Cheung (BSN ‘12), Colleen Lener DNP ‘12) and Susan Prion (BSN ‘79).

“Tonight is not just a night to celebrate our past and present, but to look to the future. Our graduates span the globe, sharing the lessons learned in classrooms and clinical settings, and changing countless lives along the way,” Musil said. “We come together tonight to ask, ‘What’s next?’ ‘What does that future look like?’ And ‘Who will be there to financially support nursing students like Frances did?’”

Guests also heard from students, including third-year undergraduate nursing student Ethan Slocum, second-year master’s student Nina Hollopeter and PhD candidate Pamela Bolton. They advocated for student scholarship support by recounting their experiences learning and working in the nursing field today.