As the Shenandoah University nursing program officially celebrated its 50- year milestone on Oct. 5, it announced that the Division of Nursing was officially named the “Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing.”
As the Shenandoah University nursing program officially celebrated its 50- year milestone on Oct. 5, it announced that the Division of Nursing was officially named the “Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing.” Associate Professor Kathryn Ganske, Ph.D., serves as dean of the school.
“I am very proud of all the accomplishments that the school of nursing has done over the past 50 years,” said Senior Vice President and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Bryon Grigsby. “In the last few years, Dr. Ganske’s leadership has helped grow nursing to third largest program at the university with more than 480 students. Nursing has also garnered nearly six million dollars in grants and scholarships, and has increased its reputation through faculty serving on regional and national boards. Dr. Ganske is a highly qualified nurse and leader who deserves the title of ‘dean.’”
Eleanor Wade Custer was a tireless supporter of nursing. She graduated from the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing and the Francis Payne Bolt School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Custer worked at both Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Visiting Nurses Association, and from 1935 to 1940, she served as health supervisor for the Cleveland Humane Society.
During World War II, Custer led Army and Navy nurse recruitment for the Armed Services Fifth Service Command. At that time, she volunteered for night duty in pediatric hospitals. From 1945 to 1948, she followed her interest in pediatric nursing by serving as administrator of the Rainbow Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. Custer also worked for the Family Health Association in Cleveland until her 1965 retirement.
Custer and her brother, Winchester surgeon and Shenandoah University Trustee Monford Custer, were instrumental in bringing new visibility and recognition to Shenandoah’s nursing program at the time the John Kerr Building was renovated in 1983. That year, the Eleanor Wade Custer Nursing Center was dedicated in her honor.
Throughout the next two decades, Custer was generous with both advice and financial support including the establishment of the Eleanor Wade Custer Nursing Endowment and the Eleanor Wade Custer Lecture Series in Nursing. Custer died in February of 1997.