A Look Back in Time…at one 1904 Account of OVH’s First Nursing Student Graduation!


The following is an article taken from The McKees Rocks Gazette, Thursday, June 9th, 1904 issue. It details the commencement of Miss Annabell McAnulty, the first nurse to graduate from Ohio Valley Hospital’s School of Nursing Program.

A Brilliant Function – Large Attendance – Eloquent Addresses – Reception, Etc.


The graduation and commencement exercises of the McKees Rocks hospital training school Friday evening were a decided success and a significant event for the local hospital.  It was the first occasion of this character and no doubt opened a brighter era for the hospital, which is now in a better position to meet the responsibilities and requirements of the great and growing Greater McKees Rocks than ever before.

The commencement exercises held at the Christian church was a brilliant and interesting social function.  About 300 of the many friends of the physicians, nurses and those who had been treated at the institution were present.  The platform in the main auditorium was occupied by Dr. J. A. Williams, Dr. Alex McG. Duff and Dr. C. G. Eicher.

Miss Annabell McAnulty was the graduate and honor guest of the evening, and with her on the state were arrayed six of the corps of nurses, and Miss Josephine Scott, the head nurse, all handsomely gowned in full uniform.

Dr. J. A. Williams, president of the Hospital association, made a brief and appropriate address in which he complimented the honor guest upon her excellent and meritorious work at the hospital and related some of the history of the local training school.  He said in part, that much credit was due the Ladies’ Auxiliary to the hospital and St. Vincent de Paul Society of McKees Rocks for the great success of the hospital recently, and that these societies made it possible for the institution to cover a broader field and number of patients.

Following the address there was a recitation by Miss Ella Marvin, a solo by Mr. James Messick and musical selections by the orchestra.

The diploma was presented by Rev. S. E. Brewster in an eloquent address, in which he dwelt upon the noble calling of the patient and charitable nurses, who were called nurses, but were in his estimation, angels when their work was well done.

Dr. Alex McG. Duff presented the badge and made a neat and fitting address to the recipient, encouraging her in her honorable and noble calling.  He said in part:  “You may have been inspired to choose this occupation by reading poetry or by the advice of a friend, but after you became acquainted with the bare and hard facts enjoined upon your arduous duties, you no doubt lost sight of the poetry you first anticipated there was in it.  Now, what I desire to ask you to do is not to lose sight of the poetry in your profession, no matter what your duties, surroundings or responsibilities may be.  It is true that life is largely what we make it, and there is poetry everywhere, if we can only see it in that light.”

The badge, being the first ever awarded by the local hospital, was designed especially for Miss McAnulty.  It is circular in form with black enamel back ground and the words “McKeesRocksGeneralHospital” inlaid with gold around the edge.  The words “Training School for Nurses” occupy the entire bar.  It is a very beautiful emblem and well worthy of typifying three years apprenticeship in the hospital as well as being the first one emanating from McKees Rocks.

At the conclusion of the exercises Dr. Eicher, master of ceremonies, invited the audience to repair the hospital on the hill where a reception was held.

Here several enjoyable hours were spent.  Many visitors from the city were present, among them Dr. F. T. Snyder and a delegation of nurses from the Southside hospital.  The large ward of the hospital had been vacated and decorated with the National colors for the reception and all nurses that could be spared, gave over their time to serve the guests.  Many of the young folks tripped the light fantastic to the renditions of Bridges’ Orchestra and for this particular occasion transformed the scene of affliction and suffering into one of recreation and amusement.  Those who did not dance spent pleasant hours in cheerful intercourse in the hospital and on the verandas.

Miss McAnulty, the graduate, spent two years of her course in the Southside hospital, and finished with one year at the McKees Rocks hospital.  The local training school being established and under the able management of Miss Josephine Scott, all nurses who serve the required term hereafter will graduate and receive diplomas and badges.

Miss Scott has held responsible positions in several of the leading hospitals of this State and the benefit of her experience is already apparent here.  The McKees Rocks hospital now has a more promising future than at any time during its history.