Longtime nursing faculty instructor Gloria Velarde supervises WCC nursing student Jim Abraham as he diagnoses a “patient dummy.” (Photo by Jessica Bibbee)

Longtime nursing faculty instructor Gloria Velarde supervises WCC nursing student Jim Abraham as he diagnoses a “patient dummy.” (Photo by Jessica Bibbee)


Nursing Alumni Homecoming event celebrates program’s 40-year anniversary

The 40th anniversary of Washtenaw Community College’s Nursing Program will be the centerpiece of the inaugural WCC Nursing Alumni Home-coming Celebration Thursday, Oct. 27. The WCC Alumni Association and the newly formed WCC Student Nurses’ Association (WCCSNA) will co-sponsor the event. Student nurses and WCC nursing alumni, as well as the public, are encouraged to attend.

Sister Judith VanderVeen, who recently retired after 35 years as a WCC nursing faculty member, will give the keynote speech titled, “Across Generations… Working Together for Better Health Care.”

“It has been a blessing for me to be associated with nursing at WCC since its inception in 1975,” Sister Vanderveen said. “I am grateful for the students and the faculty, some of whom are lifelong friends.”

Jim Abraham, president of WCCSNA chapter, said the homecoming celebration will include a dinner, 50 / 50 drawing and giveaway for a brand-new MDF stethoscope. Proceeds from the homecoming will support the WCCSNA chapter – which is a member of the National Student Nurses’ Association, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster the professional development of undergraduate nursing students.

“We are all looking forward to this homecoming,” said Abraham. “Sister VanderVeen’s remarks will focus on her insights and vision for improving healthcare around the world – a topic on the minds of so many people these days. The evening will also provide attendees with valuable networking opportunities and a chance to reconnect with their classmates.”

Abraham returned to college after spending many years in retail managerial positions. “It was time for me to follow my passion – and that was to become a nurse,” he said. “In order to be a good nurse, you must remember the value and unique nature of each patient’s life – and not just focus on treating symptoms.” Abraham will graduate in May and plans to transfer to Eastern Michigan University to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing — with a specialization in geriatrics.

The WCCSNA teaches students communication skills and provides valuable networking opportunities that are designed to help them find jobs. The WCCSNA also teaches students about the importance of community service — with students volunteering their time to staff blood pressure clinics at senior centers or becoming involved in the Go Red For Women events — which focus on heart health.

Gloria Velarde has taught nursing at WCC for more than 25 years and serves as the faculty advisor to the WCCSNA. At the homecoming, she looks forward to seeing some of her former students and catching up on their personal and professional lives.

“I’m very excited about this inaugural nursing alumni event,” said Velarde. “When you think about WCC graduating approximately 80 nurses each year, that’s over 3,000 nurses we’ve produced in our 40 years of existence,” Velarde notes. “That’s a very impressive number and speaks to the integrity and caliber of our program.”

The homecoming will be held in the Morris Lawrence Building on the WCC campus. Doors will open at 5:30 with dinner starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 each or two for $50.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is an approved provider of continuing education by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation 1.0 nursing contact hour will be provided.

To register and purchase tickets, call the WCC Alumni Association at 734-973-3665 or visit wccnet.edu/nursealumni.

For information about the Washtenaw Community College Student Nurses’ Association, contact Jim Abraham at 734-845- 6365 or visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/wccsna/.

For information about the WCC Alumni Association, contact Shana Barker, Alumni Coordinator, at 734-973-3705 or visitwccnet.edu/alumni/.

By Anita LeBlanc

Special Writer