Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni

The VGH School of Nursing Alumni officially has functioned continuously since 1920, started by Bertha Pickles, Superintendent of Nurses.  The first president was Mildred (Holloway) Hall, class of 1909.  One could say that the alumni is 124 years old as the first class graduated in 1892; a remarkable feat and accomplished through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.  For more information, please click here.


Membership and payment of dues to the VGH Alumni is vital to the future of our Alumni and its ability to carry on the crucial, unique and important activities in the management of the Alumni and the functions within the VGH School of Nursing Archives.  Our Alumni is remarkable, as it is the only hospital nursing alumni in Canada to function continuously for over 100 years due to our committed volunteers.  Our Archives is recognized for its historical value by educators, researchers, authors, scholars and other archives.   The only financial support to our Alumni is through these dues which is only $20 per year, so if we hope to have a future, payment is so important.  Membership dues are to be paid by January 1st of each year.  To obtain membership information contact Treasurer at: or: 1786 E. Jeddore Rd, East Jeddore, NS , B0J 2L0.  Please click here for the membership form.


Regular meetings currently are held the first Tuesday of the months, April, May, June, October through to December, in the church hall of Hope United, 3055 Connaught Ave., Halifax, NS, from 1 to 3 PM.  Parking free in the rear and entrance side door, plus an elevator to the left.  The Alumni AGM is held at this address in June.

Honouring Alumni Members

A. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE AWARD: Annually, the Executive and Board will select a member, who meets the criteria, to receive the ‘Florence Nightingale Award’.   This is presented during the AGM, which is held in June.  This award was initiated in 2016 by Maureen Manuge, class 1972 A, who also donated the image of a nurse.  Maureen provides pictures of the recipient receiving the award from the President and this information is documented into a binder which is stored in the VGH Archives.  A plaque is attached to the nurse figure with the winners & date engraved, both being stored in the VGH Archives, Bethune building.

The Florence Nightingale Award is presented annually to a member of the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni in recognition of their contribution to nursing.

The following are the recipients of this award:

2016 – Madeleine McNeil, class 1947.
2017 – Shirley Stark, class 1954 A.
2018 – Joyce Baxter, class 1961B.
2019 – Margaret Arklie, class 1960 B.
2022 - Nina Wickens, class 1960 B.
2023 - Gloria Stephens, class 1953A.

B. HONOURARY LIFE MEMBER: About every five years or so the Executive and Board will select a member(s) to receive this recognition which is always a surprise to the recipients.  The recipients will receive a signed certificate by the president at the AGM in June.  Each recipient’s short ‘Bio’ will be read out and then the certificates distributed. A list of Honourary Life Member recipients is recorded and kept in a 'binder' in the Archives and may be reviewed at any time.


1. A continuous paid up Alumni member for 10 years.

2. Interest in promoting the activities of the Alumni over many years, example:
  • Member of a committee (s).
  • Chair of a committee (s).
  • Executive position (s).
  • Contributed innovative ideas to promote the objectives of the Alumni.
  • Volunteered for extra activities.

3. The Executive and Board make the final decision on the selection of the candidate (s) submitted.

C. 100th ALUMNI ANNIVERSARY: Plans were made in 2020 to celebrate the 100 years that this hospital nursing alumni continuously existed, meeting on Tuesday evenings since 1920.  This being the only hospital nurses alumni in Canada to do so.  All activities had to be cancelled because of the Covid 19 pandemic.  A pamphlet was developed to honour past members from the first class onward.  This pamphlet meets our motto: “Honouring the Past to Build the Future”.  The pamphlet is titled "Proud of Past Members". During the May 6, 2023 event a second pamphlet was available to members titled "Acknowledging a Few VGH Grads Who Went the Extra Mile".

D. FEATURING MEMBERS in NEWSLETTER: Occasionally, a member will be featured in the regular Newsletter describing their nursing career and other life accomplishments.  Documented class reunions are available and recently, a new item: ‘short story on a member’s experience while ‘in training’ can be viewed.  The Newsletter is available only to paid up alumni members. 

This is accomplished through the Nursing History NS Society of which the VGH Alumni is a member.  A name which has been nominated and accepted and entered into the Memorial Book is Jean Nelson, VGH class of 1932.  She served as a Nursing Sister in WW2 and was a Matron of a 1200 bed, under canvas, hospital in Belgium.  She was awarded the Royal Red Cross 1st Class medal, mentioned in dispatches.  On return from overseas and discharged, she was the Director of Nurses at Camp Hill Hospital for many years.  While there, and just before she retired, she developed “Homeward Bound Fund’ to aid veterans with vital equipment in order to have a reasonable quality of life and who could not afford the item.  This is Jean’s legacy and is still in operation. 


G. STEPHENS, M.ASHCROFT, M. MURCHLANDThere were 5000 graduates from the VGH School of Nursing and an attempt is to record the lives of each in a special book housed in the VGH Nurses Archives, Bethune building.   The stories start from the first class of 1890 and there are approximately 3000 biographies documented.  The stories are remarkable and will be a lasting and important legacy for the VGH School of Nursing.  These documented stories not only indicate the contributions to the nursing profession but how all these nurses contributed to society as a whole, raising their children, volunteering in a variety of activities. All this becomes a valued background for historians, researchers and authors.  Presently it is very difficult to contact the graduates from the classes of the 1970’s onward to the closing class of 1995.  It would be appreciated if everyone would help in this endeavour to secure all these stories.  The form available here is to assist in the writing of your Bio which includes where to send your story.


Objectives and Milestones of the Alumni
  • Installed a stained glass window in the Centennial Building (2004).
  • Placed a tree with a plaque in front of the Centennial Building.
  • Layed a brick in Victoria Park, Halifax, inscribed "from the VG School of Nursing".
  • Donated articles to Pallative Care, VG site.
  • Lay a wreath annually at the Halifax Cenotaph (Nov 11, since 2003).
  • Donated food and clothing annually to local charities.
  • Donated money to the VG Hospital Site Foundation for patient comfort.
  • Presenting annual bursaries and awards to University nursing students.
  • Sponsored "Victorian Teas" or other events for alumni members.
  • Provide a quarterly Newsletter to paying Alumni members.
  • Support the VGH School of Nursing Archives, housed in the Bethune building.

Please click here to read the story of the stained glass window in the Centennial Building.

The Executive (minimum 2 year term) consists of a President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and past President/Nominating Chair.

The Board consists of the Executive and Chair of the Standing Committees: Archives; Publicity, Bursary and Awards; Newsletter; Program.

Bylaws are reviewed every 5 to 10 years and filed in the VG Archives; they can be viewed on request.

© 2024 Halifax Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni (E)