About Us

about us - final imageThe Alumni Association was founded in 1914 to support nursing education and to provide a place for graduates of the Bethesda School of Nursing to come together. Each year, the Alumni Association hosts an annual reunion luncheon at Bethesda North Hospital and publishes an annual newsletter.

Alumni Association of Bethesda School of Nursing President Emeritus Margaret Wright Swinford gives oral history of Bethesda Hospital and School of Nursing. Click on link to view.


The mission of the alumni association is to support nursing education for students and graduates of the Bethesda School of Nursing and to provide fellowship among its members.


The newsletter is published once a year. It will keep you up to date on the alumni association events as well as provide information regarding the most recent board meetings. To make sure you receive your copy of the newsletter, send your name and address to:

Alumni Association
c/o Bethesda Foundation ATTN: Newsletter
10500 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Another option is to call 513-865-1609.


The Bethesda School of Nursing and the Bethesda Nurses Alumni Association both have a rich history. Here you can see the events that have shaped both organizations into what they are today.

1896 - Dr. Christian Golder and Miss Louise Golder founded a Methodist Deaconess Home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1897 - A board of managers was elected and an association was incorporated under the name of the German Deaconess Association. In 1898, this board purchased a private hospital located on the corner of Reading Road and Oak Street from Dr. R. Thad Reamy. The name was changed from the Reamy Hospital to Bethesda Hospital. It was formally opened in the fall of the same year. Miss Golder, sister to Dr. Christian Golder, organized the nursing school for Deaconesses and thus became its first Superintendent of Nurses. Ten students were enrolled and a two-year course was offered.

1898 to 1908 - Only Deaconess students were accepted.

1906 - A three-year course was introduced. 

 Uniforms_pre_1945 Nursing Uniform 1898 - 1916

1910 - The Dorcas Institute, the present Cincinnati Training School, was organized as a school for religious education, where young women could prepare for the deaconess work and other religious activities. This phase of the curriculum was then removed from the School of Nursing. The school of nursing was reorganized and enlarged to provide for the education of nurses. For the first time, applicants other than deaconess candidates were accepted into the school.

1914 - The alumnae association was organized and was called the Florence Nightingale Club. Twenty members were enrolled at the first meeting. The purpose of the organization was mutual help and improvement in professional work and the promotion of good networking and fellowship among the graduates of the school. The membership dues were 25¢ per year. The first official meeting was held in the Bethesda Chapel, with Miss Louise Golder presiding.

1915 - A bill was passed in the State of Ohio requiring all hospitals maintaining a school for nurses to meet the educational standards of the State Medical Board and that all nurses take the State Board Examination. The curriculum was revised to these requirements and the school was registered as an accredited school or nursing in the state of Ohio. Prior to that, 83 nurses had graduated from the school. All were "grandfathered in" and received their R.N. and state license. Changes and improvements in the school of nursing have continued to keep pace with the developments and the advancement of nursing education in general.

1918 - The first class to take the state board examination under the new law for registered nurses.

1921 - A social director was added to the faculty and was in charge of extracurricular activities.

1926 - The Alumnae Sick Benefit Fund was established.

1927 - The student council was organized. They developed the "Big Sister" plan for incoming students, and established a Student Loan Fund which was available for students of the second and third year who need financial assistance.

1928 - Extracurricular activities were placed on a credit basis.

1931 - The Alumnae Association of the Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing became incorporated.

1939 - Plans for a scholarship/educational fund were drawn up. The 25th Anniversary of the alumnae association was celebrated and an Anniversary Book published.

1940 - The first scholarship was awarded.

 Uniforms Nursing Uniform 1898 - 1916

1950 - The first Lifetime Membership was awarded to Miss Minnie L. Draher.

1951 - $10,000 was pledged toward building the nurses home. Upon recommendation of the Alumni Association, the board of managers of the Bethesda Hospital and Deaconess Association, the nurses home was named Draher Hall.

1953 - The $10,000 pledge was paid in full.

1954 - The name of the student scholarship fund was changed to Minnie L. Draher Memorial Student Scholarship Fund.

1957 - The first Minnie L. Draher Scholarships were awarded.

1958 - The cookbook, called Favorite Recipes, was first published. Contributions toward baccalaureate and commencement flowers for the School of Nursing began.

1959 - The Alumnae Association Yearbook was published. A refresher course was provided for alumnae RNs desiring to return to nursing. The name of the educational fund was changed to the Mildred L. Lambert Memorial Educational Fund.

1960 - Courtesy membership into the alumnae association for members of the Senior class was initiated. This remained in effect for the year of their graduation.

1964 - The 50th Anniversary Book was published. Postcards of Draher Hall were sold to benefit the Minnie L. Draher Scholarship Fund.

1965 - The composite album, containing composite pictures of each class, was published.

1966 - Funds toward redecorating the Alumni Room in Draher Hall were provided.

1967 - An Anniversary Award Tray was presented by Dr. William Frischback; two previous anniversary cups no longer had room to engrave the year of the celebrating class. Bake sales and candy sales began to raise funds for the Mildred L. Lambert Memorial Educational Fund.

1969 - Companies were surveyed to make the Bethesda cap in permanent press material. The Marvin-Weitzel Company's design was selected and recommended for adoption.

Nursing Caps

 1970 - The Alumnews & Views newsletter was revived.

1971 - Presented the Louise Spilker Award at the Homecoming Banquet in honor of the 70th anniversary of her graduation. Received a monetary gift from the Auxiliary of Bethesda Hospitals used for redecoration of the Alumnae Room in Draher Hall.

1972 - The Alumnae Room was given up by the School of Nursing and its furnishings were sold.

1973 - Revision of the application forms and requirements for the Mildred L. Lambert Memorial Education Fund.

1974 - Began a three-year sponsorship of a bazaar for funding by the two scholarship funds.

1977 - Co-sponsored the bazaar with the Bethesda Foundation.

1978 - Changed election of the officers to every two years and two trustees were selected each year.

1979 - Changed “alumnae” to “alumni” to include male graduates of the School of Nursing. Louise Streb Fund initiated to honor her for many years of dedicated service to the Alumni Association and Bethesda.

1981 - Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Auxiliary of Bethesda Hospitals, reinstituted G-Day as a project to benefit scholarship funds under the leadership of Ann Banks Bertsche (1968) and Jill Wineing (Kraft) Kinstler (1970). Held a bakeless bake sale to further benefit the Draher and Lambert Scholarship funds. Format of Alumnews & Views revised. $5,000 was awarded with the Draher and Lambert scholarships. Martha Pflueger honored at the Alumni Banquet for her 60th anniversary. Louise Streb Cardiac Teaching Cart purchased.

1982 - Mrs. Doris Kober retired and was awarded honorary life membership in the Alumni Association. She served as registrar for 18 years and as the School of Nursing secretary in addition to being a best friend to the Alumni Association. Alumni Day held at Bethesda North and Oak to instill pride in our School of Nursing. Another $5,000 for Draher and Lambert Scholarships was awarded.

1983 - Board of Trustees of the Bethesda Hospital Alumni Association suspends the by-laws temporarily to reorganize the Alumni Association because of an incomplete ballot presentation by the nominating committee. A total of $5,300 awarded to nine recipients of the Draher and Lambert Scholarships. The Doris E. Kober Scholarship awarded to a member of the class of 1984. Revision of the application form for the Mildred L. Lambert Educational Fund. Alumni dues increase to $8 per year. Ruth Kortgardner Award established to honor her dedication and service (35 years) to Bethesda Hospitals, awarded to a member of the class of 1983.

1984 - Revision of by-laws to maintain the Alumni Association. G-Day sale continues to benefit scholarships.

1985 - 25th Anniversary of G-Day since its initiation by the Auxiliary. Fifth annual Anniversary of G-Day under the auspices of the Alumni Association.

1986 - Miss Martha M. Pflueger (1921) celebrates 65 years at the Alumni Banquet and Marcella Schultz Lahrman celebrated 66 years (1920).

1987 - By-laws amended to permit dues, at the current rate, to be paid for missed years to qualify for life membership.

1988 - Successful G-Day sale with $2,760 in proceeds, which was distributed for both scholarship funds and the Scholarship Loan Fund of Bethesda Foundation. Planning started for 75th Anniversary celebration and Anniversary Book.

1989 - Graduation of the last diploma class from Bethesda School of Nursing and graduation of the first associate degree class from Cincinnati State Nursing Degree Program.

1992 - Moved to Cincinnati State campus.

1999 - First Greiser scholarship awarded.

2002 - Draher Hall demolished.

2003 - First Pautz scholarship awarded.

2006 - Scholarship fund established through Bethesda Foundation.

2007 - First scholarship awarded through the Bethesda Foundation.