The late Charles E. "Gus" Whalen, founder of the Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville, gives a speech at last year's Masters in the Art of Nursing ceremony. This year's event, scheduled Sept. 23, will feature a tribute to the local businessman and philanthropist, who passed away on June 21 at the age of 70.
The late Charles E. "Gus" Whalen, founder of the Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville, gives a speech at last year's Masters in the Art of Nursing ceremony. This year's event, scheduled Sept. 23, will feature a tribute to the local businessman and philanthropist, who passed away on June 21 at the age of 70.

Community Health Care Institutions Celebrate Nursing Excellence with Annual Recognition

Sep. 21, 2015
David Morrison

Brenau University’s School of Nursing will host the annual Masters in the Art of Nursing program Wednesday, Sept. 23, to celebrate contributions of six longtime professional caregivers from northeast Georgia.

Initiated six years ago by the late Gainesville, Georgia, business and civic leader Charles E. “Gus” Whalen as a partnership of the region’s leading nursing institutions, the 2015 edition of Masters in the Art of Nursing: Healers Among Us will run from 8 a.m. to noon in the Whalen Auditorium at Brenau’s East Campus, 1001 Chestnut St. SE in Gainesville.

During the ceremony, half a dozen committee-selected honorees will be formally recognized for their work and given an opportunity to discuss their careers, as well as share their thoughts on what makes the craft of nursing so rewarding and unique from other professions.

This year’s honorees represent a diverse assortment of professionals with nursing experiences, running the gamut from county-level administrators to long-time private sector providers. They are Mamie Coker, health services coordinator for the Hall County School System; Robin Dudley, a 1978 Brenau alumna and current university trustee who has taught classes at Thomson High School and Augusta Technical College; Shannon Garner, manager of nursing clinical support services at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center; Deborah Long, a United Health Care HouseCalls practitioner who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brenau in 1984; Kevin Meyer, interim director of invasive cardiology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center; and Hall County Nurse Manager Alan Satterfield.

Whalen, who died on June 21 at the age of 70, will be honored at the event with a video tribute and a presentation by Dr. Sandra Greniewicki, the Anne Warren Thomas Professor of Nursing and Health Care Leadership at Brenau. Whalen, who once declared nursing as the most honorable career path he could imagine, spearheaded the development of the Masters in the Art of Nursing program in 2010 to laud nurses for their dedicated service to the local community.

Brenau’s East Campus resides in the Featherbone Communiversity complex, a collaborative learning center that Whalen developed from the remnants of his family-owned textile business. In addition to housing the School of Nursing, the site is also home to Brenau’s School of Occupational Therapy and an innovative patient simulator center for training health care professionals.

The nursing honors program is exactly the kind of collaborative community initiative for which Whalen was best known and is now one of a series of Brenau-sponsored events highlighting outstanding local professionals in several professions, including education, entrepreneurship, public safety and craftsmanship that occur throughout the year.

Wednesday’s nursing ceremony opens with comments from Dr. Nancy Krippel, Brenau provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Dina Hewett, director of the School of Nursing. Other presenters include School of Nursing Co-Chair Dr. Sonya Hancock, North Georgia Heart Foundation Board Chair Dr. George Ordway and Northeast Georgia Medical Center Executive Director of Government Affairs Deb Bailey, who will moderate a Masters in the Art of Nursing panel discussion.

Partners for the program include the Longstreet Clinic, the North Georgia Heart Foundation, the Northeast Georgia Health System, Sigma Theta Tau International Nu Gamma and the Warren Featherbone Foundation.

The free event is open to the public. For more information on the ceremony, contact School of Nursing Office Manager Janet Collier at jcollier@brenau.edu or (770) 534-6206.

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100