Alumni Share 50 Years of Nursing Program Pride

October 17, 2023
Selkirk College Nursing Program 50th Tea Group Shot

Five decades of nursing education was celebrated in mid-October when Selkirk College alumni gathered on the Castlegar Campus for an afternoon tea to mark 50 years.

Laughter, pride and even a few tears were on display as more than 25 current and retired nurses reminisced about their education, careers and personal journeys. Joined by faculty and staff, the afternoon included speeches, tea and cake.

“Nursing is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle,” said Catherine MacAskill, one of the members of the first class and organizer of the event.

An educational bedrock for the region’s health care system, Selkirk College welcomed the first cohort of 12 students in 1971. At the time, it was a 21-month Registered Nursing Program based out of the Castlegar Campus. Since the Class of 1973 entered the health care sector, almost 1,000 nursing professionals have graduated into vital careers both near and far.

Former Leaders and Current Learners

In attendance for the tea and tying much of the afternoon together was retired Nursing Program instructor and leadership team member Kathleen Pinckney. An instructor for 1971’s first cohort, she went onto an incredible award-winning career in post-secondary where she provided the leadership that enabled the establishment of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program that is currently offered in Castlegar through a partnership with the University of Victoria.

Selkirk College Nursing Program 50th Tea Melissa Markin Student
Melissa Markin is a third-year student and associate delegate on the Canadian Nursing Student Association (CNSA) who spoke to alumni with a message of thanks and appreciation.

Many of the speakers recognized Pinckney for her mentorship throughout the years, noting that she was also at the program’s tea that marked 25 years. Though she retired from Selkirk College 20 years ago, Pinckney said her heart is full of wonderful memories.

“You are all my pride and joy,” said Pinckney, whose contribution to Selkirk College was recognized with a 2020 Distinguished Educator award.

Joining the alumni were some current students, providing thanks to the trailblazers who continue to support education and outcomes in the profession.

“When we are on practicum or in the community, Selkirk College grads are so kind to us,” said Melissa Markin, a third-year student and associate delegate on the Canadian Nursing Student Association. “It’s very inspiring to see that they all started in the same place as us and have gone onto to such rewarding careers.”

Learn more about the Selkirk College Alumni Association.