Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


Loyola nursing class of ‘64, together forever

Friends to celebrate 50th anniversary during alumni weekend

MAYWOOD, Ill. – For a special group of Loyola University Chicago nursing students, 1964 was a year of remarkable transformation. They were coming of age in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and the Beatles arrival.

“This time of great change gave us a cohesion that has kept us together over the years,” Julie Donalek, BSN ‘64, recalled at a recent gathering of the group.

Donalek and her fellow alumnae and friends, Jan Cherry, Val Husak, Kathy Z. Motto and Helen Ramirez-Odell, will celebrate their 50th reunion this spring with other alumnae of Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. The class of  ‘64 group has remained close over the years, serving as bridesmaids in each other’s weddings and godparents for their kids. They continue to see each other several times a year.

“We were faced with two options: to either become a teacher or a nurse,” said Jan Cherry. “We chose nursing, and it has been the binding material that has kept us together for 50 years.”

The class of  ‘64 wore traditional white uniforms and caps, lived in Cook County Hospital while on rotation, and walked past the morgue each day to get to their clinicals. This class was part of the early trend to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees where nurses could take university classes along with their clinical coursework, as opposed to learning in the segmented system used by hospital-based schools.

Loyola will commemorate the class of 1964’s 50th anniversary during a weekend celebration on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. Reunion weekend will culminate with the Sixth Annual Alumni Mass and Awards Brunch on the Lake Shore Campus. Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Madonna della Strada Chapel, 6339 N. Sheridan Rd., followed by the brunch and awards presentation at 11:30 a.m. in the Mundelein Center, 1020 W. Sheridan Rd.

Mary Ann Draye, BSN ‘64, MPH, APRN, FNP-BC, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. Kathleen Kindelin Pender, MS, BSN ‘73, RN, will be honored with the Spirit of Ignatius Award, given to a graduate who best characterizes curas personalis or “care of the person.”

For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 708.216.6576.