Galt Alumni gift $150,000 in scholarship

For nearly 70 years (1910 to 1979), the Galt School of Nursing trained more than 1,100 nurses who played -- and still play -- a key role in providing quality health care to the residents of southern Alberta.

Today, Galt School of Nursing alumni and University of Lethbridge officials announced the transfer of nearly $150,000 in scholarship money to the University of Lethbridge in support of students enrolled in the U of L's nursing program.

"The University of Lethbridge is pleased to continue in the tradition established by the Galt School of Nursing and is proud to educate the next generation of nursing professionals," said U of L President Dr. Mike Mahon.

"It is also quite gratifying to know that Galt nursing graduates from up to 60 years ago are sharing in this good news, and can see for themselves how the U of L is working to educate future nurses."

Mahon notes that nursing has undergone an incredible transformation since the Galt School of Nursing was established, especially in terms of educational requirements and advances in medicine and technology.

"There continues to be a need for qualified health care professionals and this gift from the Galt School of Nursing Alumni Association helps ensure that current nursing students have access to much-needed scholarship money."

The fund will be endowed to provide scholarships to entering or continuing Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing After Degree third- and fourth-year students.

Donna Karl, RN, a Galt School of Nursing graduate from 1963 and spokesperson for the alumni group, said the gift to the U of L helps Galt alumni continue their support of nursing in the community.

"It is remarkable that this fund has carried over for more than 100 years, from the pioneering Galt family to the present day. The Alumni Association has looked after it for the past 15 years, and is delighted to have the University accept it to continue supporting nurses."

Karl, who works part time at Lethbridge College in the Health Services Office, has two daughters who are also nurses.

"I absolutely love this profession, and am really pleased to be working nearly 50 years after being in school. Much has changed since 1963 -- we certainly didn't have the facilities or services today's students have – but we can continue to ensure today's students are supported throughout their education."

The fund was first established in 1910 by the Galt family, who also built and supported the original Galt Hospital (now the site of the Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives). The fund is being gifted to the U of L to manage in perpetuity on behalf of the Galt School of Nursing Alumni Association, which has been responsible for the fund since inheriting it from the former Lethbridge Municipal Hospital more than 15 years ago.

The transfer agreement required a change in provincial legislation, which was handled at a government level by former nurse and healthcare provider Bridget Pastoor, MLA Lethbridge East.

The U of L first established a School of Nursing in 1980. Now part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, there are 698 students currently enrolled in the nursing program, which is offered in conjunction with Lethbridge College. To date, more than 1,500 nurses have graduated from the program.