From left, alumnae Leigh Lucas Clay, Sarah Lindsey, Kathleen Hogan and Marietta Brandt.

The Mennonite College of Nursing congratulates the 2013 Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization Award recipients:

Distinguished Alumni Award: Sarah Lindsey, B.S.N. ’00

Sarah Lindsey received her B.S.N. from Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University in 2000, and distinguished herself from the beginning of her education. She was a Presidential Scholar, selected as one of the first recipients of the Helen A. Bender Endowed Scholarship, and graduated cum laude. She pursued a master’s degree as an advanced practice nurse and began her career as a patient advocate for oncology patients at three different cancer centers in Central Illinois.

Lindsey currently works at Illinois CancerCare in Bloomington, where she works directly with patients and also conducts research. She has been a member of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) since 2001 and is the past-president of the Central Illinois Two Rivers Chapter. She has been a member of the Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization since 2002. Her community service includes the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society volunteer consultant, and Light the Night Board member. Her passion for oncology nursing can only be matched by her passion for teaching the next generation of nurses as demonstrated through her positions of instructional assistant professor and adjunct faculty member for Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the University of Illinois. She also supports her alma mater through annual gifts. This is the highest award the college bestows upon its graduates.

Early Career Achievement Award: Leigh Lucas Clay, B.S.N. ’05

Leigh Lucas received her B.S.N. from Mennonite College at Illinois State University in 2005 and graduated summa cum laude. During her time at MCN, she was the class vice president, peer support person, honors and motor board member. After graduation, she attended Bradley University and received her M.S.N. and CRNA. At Bradley, she was awarded Top Third Year Students and the Caroline Maroni Scholarship.

Lucas currently works for Associated Anesthesiologists in Peoria as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and serves St. Francis, Proctor and the Center for Heath Surgery Center with 35 doctors and 40 CRNAs. She is with patients before and after their procedures, and feels her education at MCN was an excellent foundation and prepared her to be an outstanding nurse. She is involved in volunteer work through her church. Once a month she helps out at a medical clinic on Saturday and also is involved with the church’s food pantry, which is the only one in their area. Lucas has been accepted into the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice at Texas Wesleyan University and will be starting her doctorate in July.

Service Award: Kathleen Hogan, Ed.D. ’85, M.S. ’72

The 2013 MNAO Service Award was presented to MCN President Emerita Kathleen Hogan. Hogan received her B.S.N. from St. John’s College in 1956, an M.S. in curriculum and instruction from Illinois State in 1972, an M.S. in nursing from Northern Illinois University in 1979, and an Ed.D. from Illinois State in 1985.

Hogan began her career teaching maternal child nursing. Throughout her years at MCN, she assumed leadership roles including director of the School of Nursing, founding dean, chief operating officer, and finally president, chief executive officer and professor of nursing. On June 21, 1999, the MCN Board of Trustees passed a resolution to honor Hogan with the title, President Emerita, MCN. Hogan retired in December 1999 but still remains connected with MCN.

Under her leadership, Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing transitioned from a diploma program to a degree-granting institution with the distinction of being the first independent college of nursing in the nation to become accredited by the National League for Nursing. In addition to its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, she led the initiative to establish an advanced placement program for registered nurses to earn a B.S.N. She also directed the development and implementation of a Master of Science in Nursing program. Following 16 years of providing the leadership to establish and build MCN, Hogan once again led another significant transition resulting in MCN becoming the sixth academic college at Illinois State University. In honor of the rich heritage of MCN spanning 80 years as a private educational institution, she commissioned the writing of two commemorative history books: Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing, 1919-1985: The Passing of the Flame; and Mennonite College of Nursing 1985-1995: The Flame Burns Brightly.

Hogan was a featured speaker at the 90/10 Anniversary Celebration of MCN at Illinois State. In her speech, she reflected on MCN’s founding and reminded everyone of the deep values and vision that are MCN’s roots. Many of these values and traditions continue today.

Spirit of Nursing Award: Marietta Brandt ’51

Marietta Brandt graduated in 1951 from Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing. She started her career in med-surg at Mennonite Hospital, and through the years her career took lots of turns as opportunities opened up. She enjoyed working with students, especially helping them find their “niches” and advocating for them when she could see their life’s path. Brandt also served on the Mennonite College of Nursing Board from 1983-89 and was a board member for Meadows.

Brandt was nominated for this award by two other alumni. Rebecca Sutter ’68 informed the awards committee that Brandt is an absolutely perfect example of the nurse who has kept the full meaning of the Florence Nightingale Pledge. She watched her leadership and service for her patients, their families, her community and church only escalate, and left an incredible mark with everyone she has touched. She is a nurse who strives for excellence and expected others to do the same.

Mark Pelletier ’81 informed the committee that Brandt is the reason he is a nurse today. When he was a nursing assistant, he witnessed her dedication to the residents and her employees. She provided superb leadership and was a mentor to many, inspiriting them by her example. Compassion, empathy, caring, and “bringing her all” were qualities she consistently modeled. She instilled in him values such as a belief in himself, the rewards of hard work and the love of nursing, which he still draws upon today.


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