Minnetrista Blogs

A Lifelong Love of Nursing

Very often when items are offered to the Heritage Collection it provides collections staff with the chance to learn something new. Many times, additional information about local businesses is uncovered, and more often than not we hear the stories of people. Personal memories, narratives, and histories are definitely my favorites. It’s like sitting down and getting to know someone. You may laugh, you may cry, and more often than not you can definitely relate.

Last year, Tom and Sheryl Galliher of Fort Wayne brought in a treasure trove of items. Upon first glance, it was obvious that the books, uniform pieces, and pins related to nursing. Then the magic happened. Tom explained that his mother, Lois Campbell Galliher, attended nursing school in Muncie.

This photo of Lois Galliher was taken around 1942. In addition to their classes, all nursing students were required to put in work hours at Ball Memorial Hospital.

In 1939, Lois headed out from her family’s home in Wabash for Muncie. Her destination—Ball State Teachers College. For many years, Ball Memorial Hospital had been training new nurses. The demand for these skilled professionals had grown so much, however, that Ball Memorial teamed up with Ball State Teachers College created a combined program to train these up-and-coming nurses more efficiently.

Ball Memorial Hospital was training nurses even before the construction of their building was completed in 1929. By the 1940s they had partnered with Ball State Teachers College to provide their students with the best nurses training possible.

When Lois arrived at Maria Bingham Hall on Ball State’s campus she was looking at her home away from home. For the next three years, the dormitory and Ball State’s campus were the center of her social world. Studies and an 8 p.m. curfew kept nursing students’ schedules very full, but they still found time to have fun.

Between classes, work, and required chapel services, Lois found time to participate in the Delta Tau Sorority and attended numerous parties and dances. At their dorm, the student nurses celebrated holidays throughout the year. In 1940, the decorative snowman that they created in the living room even made the local newspaper.

Nursing students living at Maria Bingham Hall found lots of ways to have fun. Lois Galliher, kneeling in the dark skirt, seems to be enjoying herself the holiday festivities in this photo from the Muncie Star Press in December of 1940.

Graduating in 1942, Lois and her classmates parted ways. The following year Lois was licensed and began her role as a surgical nurse at the Moore-Hurley Clinic in Muncie. Outside of work, she was active with the Nurses Alumnae Association and the American Red Cross. In 2009 Lois retired from her long, but rewarding nursing career of 67 years.

To find out more about the experience of nursing students in Muncie stop by Minnetrista’s main center. A display of Lois’s items will be on view in the Atrium through May 15, 2018.