Evansville, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Southwest honored the memory of Barbara J. Hilton, as the Ivy Tech Barbara J. Hilton School of Nursing was dedicated today (4/7/17).
Made possible through the generosity of Dr. Frank L. Hilton, the School of Nursing this spring has approximately 140 nursing majors in its Associate of Science in Nursing and Licensed Practical Nursing Programs; and another 300 students taking coursework in hope of being accepted into the programs. The School of Nursing was recently ranked 2nd in the state for its students’ high pass rates on the NCLEX exam.
This gift from the Hilton family will allow for new and evolving equipment to be purchased and used in the years to come, keeping Ivy Tech’s nursing students on the cutting edge of the industry. The funding will help to provide scholarships for students in the programs, as well.
“Donors like Dr. Hilton are the lifeblood of our college, providing funding that help our college and its programs – but most importantly — help our students to realize their dreams and become contributing members of this community,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
Dr. Hilton is providing this gift – in honor of his late wife, Barbara J. Hilton. Barbara was a dedicated mother, wife, friend and nurse. According to Dr. Hilton, his wife empathized with many Ivy Tech students because her education path toward nursing was a journey not without hurdles. She attended a large university for one year, but then moved back home and got married. After marriage, and then having two children, Barbara realized the value of a college education and the impact it had on a profession, Dr. Hilton said. She enrolled in a two-year institution, where she earned her nursing degree and graduated at the top of her class. Barbara was a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center for nine and a half years, and later worked at Bristol-Myers as a registered nurse. She was the owner of Home Health Care Agency (OBI), from which she retired.
John Murphy, president of the Ivy Tech Foundation, said “We are honored to dedicate the Barbara J. Hilton School of Nursing in recognition of a transformational gift from Dr. Frank Hilton. This gift will enable us to continue providing stellar nursing education opportunities in southwest Indiana and help students reach their career goals.”
Barbara and Dr. Hilton were married for 20 years. Together, they had four children: Jennifer Riley, Ryan Hilton, Doug Eisele, and Nathan Eisele. In 2008, at the age of 53, Barbara passed away after experiencing a traumatic fall.
Dr. Hilton said, “An anonymous person once wrote three simple rules of life. 1. If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it. 2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. 3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place,” he said. “Barbara probably never read these simple rules but they certainly pertained to her. She went after what she wanted, applied and asked for a scholarship, and stepped forward more than once.”
In recognition of Barbara’s achievements in nursing and Frank’s work with the nurses of the Women’s Hospital, many of whom were Ivy Tech graduates, the Barbara J. Hilton Nursing Scholarship has been established to provide support to students in Ivy Tech’s Nursing Program.