EUGENE — The class of 1967 from Sacred Heart General Hospital School of Nursing patrolled the corridors again in early September. More than 20 women came for a reunion that convened veteran nurses, some of whom had not seen each other for 50 years. 

They toured their old hospital and their dorm, Marian Hall, which was new when they arrived in 1964. Older classmates regaled them with stories of living in big old houses nearby.

Marian Hall is now a University of Oregon dormitory. It cost the student nurses $45 per month for room and board 50 years ago; now, UO students pay more than $1,700 per month for the same digs.

The nursing school trained almost 600 nurses from 1945 until 1970, when the program transferred to Lane Community College.

Reunion day included a memorial service organized by Sister Aileen Trainor of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace for Anna May Herbert, a beloved pediatric nursing instructor who died in August at age 90.

The class of 1967 began with 54 students, the largest group ever at the school. Only 26 graduated and two members have died.

Some who attend the reunion had not been back to Eugene since graduation. There was laughter and tears.

“We reminisced over old yearbooks, uniforms, photos and other memorabilia about our walking over in the dark wearing our uniforms and long, navy blue wool capes, to attend Mass, eat in the cafeteria and attend classes,” said graduate Patty Campbell.

They were trained in psychiatric nursing at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem in the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” era.

They recalled the student who snuck a cat corpse home to Stayton for some weekend anatomy study. 

“The takeaway from all was that despite all the degrees so many have gone on to receive, we valued our initial education through Sacred Heart’s Diploma Program as the best,” Campbell said.

One classmate recounted in a note: “To my wonderful classmates: I had so much fun reconnecting with all of you. I'm so proud of our school and our education and all the good we have done for our communities.”