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Alumnae Association of Newport Hospital School of Nursing Fund
By Jean Cohoon / November 30, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Established in 1886, the Newport Hospital School of Nursing awarded diplomas for more than 100 years. A history of the School states that upon its founding, “It offers a three years’ course of study and practical training to women who desire to become professional nurses… Candidates must be eighteen or over and must be single or widowed women.”

The School graduated its last class in 1990. “The cost of the program was one of the reasons for the closure. Another reason was that it had become very self-limiting. A lot of students were choosing a four-year baccalaureate program,” explains Cheryl Abney, treasurer of the former School’s Alumnae Association.

Although the School has closed, its Alumnae Association remains active with approximately 240 members. “We’re a philanthropic organization that gave scholarships for more than 20 years to graduates pursuing higher degrees in nursing. We also contributed to other charities,” explains Nancy Souza, vice president, with Cheryl adding, “And we gave monthly stipends to graduate nurses through the Nurse’s Benefit Fund.”

Both graduates of the School, Cheryl and Nan are among recipients of the Association’s scholarships, having received awards toward Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees which they each earned at Salve Regina University in 1975.

The Alumnae Association is funded through annual dues and additional contributions from members. “Because I got a scholarship, I wanted to give back so I would make a yearly contribution to the Nurse’s Benefit Fund,” Nan says.

Recognizing that their membership is getting older, the Association’s board began discussing how best to continue to support students entering their profession. “Several year ago, I was a member of the Foundation’s Newport County Fund Advisory Council, so knew about the Foundation. We talked with the Association board and they were in favor of partnering with the Foundation. We want our name to go on, and we thought this fund would be the best way to do it,” Cheryl explains.

Through this fund, the Alumnae Association of the Newport Hospital School of Nursing forever will provide scholarships for Rhode Island residents pursuing nursing education.

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