The Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization presented four awards at the Awards and Reunion Banquet Saturday, April 22 at the Alumni Center. The banquet rounded out a full week of events for MCN (Mennonite College of Nursing) Nurses Week.
Distinguished Alumni Award
The highest award the college bestows upon its graduates will be presented to Marsha Reeves ’80, ’03. Reeves graduated from Mennonite School of Nursing with a Diploma of Nursing in 1980. In 1985 she completed postgraduate work in neurosurgical-techniques at Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor of Science in health education in 2003 from Illinois State University, and in 2008 earned her Master of Science in health administration and finance from the University of Saint Francis in Joliet.
She has provided nursing leadership in many health care settings across Central Illinois including hospitals, surgery centers, and private practice. Reeves was the director of nurses at Eastland Medical Plaza, Surgi Center, which was the first of its kind in the twin cities. Later she utilized her design and building skills as she assumed the role as director of Surgical Services at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center where she supervised the construction of the $10 million surgery wing and GI center.
Reeves then was appointed as the executive director of Novak Women Health and Wellness Center where she introduced the concept of boutique medicine and wellness. She assumed a new role as director of Surgical Services at OSF St. James JWA Medical Center, where she has oversight of construction and program development over inpatient and outpatient surgery, ambulatory, and GI services. From 2007 until her retirement in 2014, Reeves served as hospital administrator executive director of peri-operative services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur.
Reeves in a leader in the community serving as a member of multiple organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, and the board of directors of Downtown Business Association. She serves her alma mater as a dedicated volunteer, whether in the Nursing Simulation Laboratory, Homecoming activity, or committee service.
As a member of Illinois State University Mennonite College of Nursing adjunct faculty, she contributes to the education of our students. She is a lifelong learner and continuously working to improve her understanding of health care as she strives to improve the organization she serves.
Early Career Achievement Award
Jennifer Stouffer Kelsey, B.S.N. ’06, will receive the Early Career Achievement Award. Kelsey graduated with her B.S.N. from Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing and earned her M.S.N. from St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in 2013.
She currently works as an advanced practice nurse in pediatric neurology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. She is a pediatric clinical nurse specialist and also received her pediatric advanced life support certification.
After graduating from MCN, Kelsey worked as a registered nurse at OSF HealthCare, where she managed pediatric emergency situations, coordinated patient care between admitting and transferring departments, and provided unit leadership and problem-solving. She moved on to become an assistant patient care manager in 2011, and then was appointed as the patient care manager in the pediatric intermediate unit in 2013.
Kelsey earned Six Sigma Black Belt from OSF HealthCare in 2012, enabling her to grow as a leader, trainer, and coach in the workplace. She serves as a role model to new nurses in her administrative role, and serves her alma mater as a clinical instructor at MCN.
Kelsey has participated in several service trips to Haiti with the Friends of the Children of Haiti. She is an outstanding pediatric nurse who has exemplified a commitment to excellent, competent, and compassionate care to vulnerable children and their families. Advocacy and holistic care are priorities for Kelsey.
The Service Award recognizes exceptional service to the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University; to the Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization; or to humanity, inasmuch as such service reflects the values of the college, and Tom Carroll ’84, M.S. ’89, is this year’s recipient.
Carroll earned a B.S. in psychology and an M.S. in clinical psychology from Illinois State University. He is the executive vice president and chief administrative officer at RR Donnelley, an international Fortune 500 company with 42,000 employees worldwide based in Chicago.
Carroll values the experiences gained by nursing students through the Transcultural Experience program with Vladimir, Russia. When Russian nursing students visit MCN, Carroll hosts and funds a group of faculty, staff, and students for a cultural tour in Chicago.
His insights to human resources, marketing, communications and the changing world of employment have been invaluable to MCN students. Carroll has served as a guest speaker on self-branding to nursing students preparing to graduate and seek employment in the Chicago area. His presentations are engaging, informative, and quickly gains the interest and respect of students.
He currently serves on the board of North Central College, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and the Naperville Development Partnership. He has served as the board chair for the Naperville YMCA, the Naperville Area Humane Society, and Naperville Community Television. For the ManKind Project USA, he served as the chair on the HR Committee, and was also a board member of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation and Idealliance.
Carroll epitomizes what it means to be a Redbird by his involvement and generosity in giving back to his alma mater in every possibly way. His exceptional service to MCN reflects the values of the college, and his passion and generosity are greatly appreciated by students and faculty.
Spirit of Nursing Award
Crystal Roseberry Smith, B.S.N. ’94, M.S.N. ’00, is this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Nursing Award. Smith earned both her B.S.N. and her M.S.N. from MCN. Faculty recall Smith as an enthusiastic undergraduate student who was faithfully involved in the Faith and Life group, as well as studying hard and striving to excel in her studies.
After graduating with her B.S.N., she worked in the intensive care unit and cardiac step down unit at what was then BroMenn Hospital. She then went on to work with Dr. Robert Seidl in sports and orthopaedic medicine. Before long, she returned to her alma mater to earn her M.S.N. in the family nurse practitioner program.
She was hired as a nurse practitioner with a local OB-GYN physician, Dr. Harold Nord in Bloomington-Normal, and assisted women in their maternity and gynecological care. Furthering her education to become a surgical first assist and be competent in ultrasound allowed her to care for her patients in a more comprehensive way. She joined the MCN graduate faculty as a preceptor and lecturer in the family nurse practitioner track. During her time as a faculty member, she was dedicated in her engagement with graduate students to maximize their learning and clinical expertise.
Smith has been serving and leading in medical mission work to Haiti for the last 23 years and with Haiti Lifeline Ministries to coordinate medical care for an orphanage and the surrounding community. She adopted two children from Haiti and welcomed them into her family. She has a strong faith commitment, which contributes to her desire to give back to those in need. Smith has a dream to one day open a nursing school in Haiti to allow the older children becoming young adults in the orphanage to have an education and a career. This will simultaneously be able to impact the health of the Haitian people in a far greater way.
Everyone is gifted in different ways and the gift of mercy drove Smith to love the role of nursing and the impact that it can have on other people in their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. She has a genetic disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, that she reports has been one of her greatest blessings in caring for others. If one is continually a patient, one is continually bettering herself as a caregiver.
Smith has compassionately lived MCN’s mission—“to develop exceptionally well prepared nurses who will lead to improve health outcomes locally and globally”—and this award is the perfect recognition for her advocacy for the vulnerable human.