Our Alumnae Association

As we all know, our Hospital for Sick Children School of Nursing began in 1886 when Josephine Hamilton walked into the hospital and asked to be trained in the care of sick children. From those humble beginnings, the school grew to become one of the most important and respected paediatric nursing schools in the world. The notion of forming an Alumnae Association for HSC graduates was first raised by Kesiah Underhill (Superintendent of the Hospital from 1892-94). However, it was Louise Brent (Superintendent from 1895-1913) who strongly recommended that an association be formed and on November 13, 1903 the first meeting took place with 10 members present.

The object of the Association was, and is, the promotion of unity and camaraderie among the graduates and the advancement of the profession of nursing. Jennie Smedley (1892) was elected the first President and meetings were held monthly (See link below)

During the early years, members attended educational lectures offered by the medical staff and papers were read on subjects of interest to the nurses. This was one of the only ways that continuing education was available to graduates at the time. The promotion of educational opportunities, through annual scholarships and bursaries, and educational presentations such as the Jean I Masten Lecture and speakers at our Annual General Meetings, has remained an important focus for the Alumnae Association. (See link below for Florence J Potts Scholarship recipients).  In 1903, another important role of the Alumnae Association was to provide a ‘home base’ for graduates of the school, most of whom were engaged in private duty nursing in homes, often on 24-hour duty – a lonely life professionally.

As the world changed in dramatic ways over 108 years, the Alumnae continued to develop creative and innovative programs to respond to these changing needs. The Association assumed a leadership role in supporting members and their families, the hospital staff, and above all the young patients at the hospital. The Alumnae, through the ongoing generosity of its members took on important roles in every new venture undertaken by the Hospital itself. Many have given selflessly of their time, talents and monies in support of a beloved institution.

Although the last class graduated over 37 years ago, membership in the Alumnae Association has continued to grow as our Alumnae News newsletter and other new technologies, including this website, allow us to connect with graduates around the world. Every graduate is a member of the Alumnae and in recent years unprecedented effort has been put into computerizing our data base and reaching out to members through the newsletter and email. As the Alumnae Association draws its official operations to a close in 2012, this website will allow us to stay connected, inform members of upcoming events, provide meeting and lecture details, share photos and stories from the past, and celebrate our class reunions.

Julie (Ayling) McLean-Squires (1967), President of the Alumnae (2006-2010) has spent much time reviewing Alumnae Executive and AGM minutes in order to construct a time-line of the Association (See link below). Congratulations and our thanks to Julie for wading through 108 years of record keeping!  Still, minutes of meetings could never convey the depth and breadth of our activities. It is also true that in the early days of the organization, and in some years along the way, there was a lack of information available in those records. Fortunately, the Alumnae News, published regularly since 1937 does report our stories in more detail.

Through newsletter articles we bore witness to world events, both here and away – stories of service by graduates in war, in disasters and in overseas missions. We can read of our roles in medical triumphs, through hospital moves, in nursing research, and other initiatives at HSC – and, of course, we learn of the important work of individual Alumnae members. We have posted excerpts from past newsletters which speak to the work of your Alumnae Association and its members over the years. Please enjoy exploring our website to find our stories.

Brief Timeline 1903-2011…

(open in new window)

Florence J. Potts Scholarship Recipients

One of the earliest HSC School of Nursing Alumnae Association awards was the Florence J Potts Scholarship instituted in 1922 in honour of her contribution as Superintendent of HSC nursing and the hospital. During the early years of the Hospital,… Read moreFlorence J. Potts Scholarship Recipients

Alumnae Association Presidents

1909-12-01 Lina (Rogers) Struthers (1894) 1913-15 Leta Teeter (1906) 1916-18 Ella Jamieson (1896) 1919-20 Alice Grindlay (1914) 1921-22 Marion (Starr) Storey (1917) 1923 Jessie Farquarson (1916) 1924 Marion (Starr) Storey (1917) 1925-27 Marion (Starr) Langford (1917) 1928 Hazel Hughes (1922)… Read moreAlumnae Association Presidents