Waters, Verle: Assistant Dean of Instruction of Health Sciences (In Memoriam)

Verle Waters was hired in September 1975 and served as Assistant Dean for Instruction for Health Sciences.  Before coming to Ohlone, Verle assisted in establishing and teaching in this country’s first Associate Degree Nursing Programs in New York (1952).  Later she created the Associate Degree nursing program at San Jose City College and served as Director for 15 years.  In 1991, Verle retired from Ohlone after 35 years of leadership and accomplishment in Nursing and Health Education.  Upon retirement, she was granted Emeritus status.  The Verle Waters Scholarship Endowment at Ohlone was established to recognize her outstanding contributions to the college and her passionate support for student success and professional excellence.

Verle played a leading role in the continual development and improvement of the Registered Nursing program at Ohlone, making it a leading model for Associate Degree in Nursing in the state and nationwide.  She established excellent professional relationships with many health agencies, which were essential for creating clinical experience opportunities for students.  Verle served with distinction as the Instructional Dean to several departments.

Verle was highly successful in obtaining grant funding to improve the programs at Ohlone.  From 1979 through 1983, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded the college to institute the innovative Nursing Preceptorship program.  This culminated in a national video conference in 1983: “Ohlone College Transition – Student to Staff Nurse: Bridging the Gap with Clinical Preceptors.”  The Kellogg Foundation also granted Ohlone funds to coordinate a statewide project in California from 1982 to 1985 for Service Education concentrating on Associate Degree Nursing competency.  From 1986 through 1990, Robert Wood Johnson funding was obtained for the Community College Nursing Home Partnership Geriatric project, which resulted in an expansion of the curriculum to include innovative strategies for providing geriatric care.  This grant included other community colleges across the United States.  Upon conclusion, outcomes were replicated in many additional nursing programs.

Verle provided creative leadership for Associate Degree Nursing nationally, was in demand as a consultant throughout the United State and abroad, and was honored with multiple awards for reshaping of nursing education.  She was a prolific author and speaker.  Her deepest professional commitment was to provide opportunities to those who lacked resources for a nursing education and to move the profession as a whole forward.

An avid backpacker and skier, Verle had a special love for the Sierra Nevada and volunteered for decades on Yosemite Association work crews.  She ran her first marathon at age 50 and won many trophies in local races throughout her 50’s and 60’s.  Verle was a passionate traveler, visiting five continents multiple times and hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal in her sixties.  Her 89th year included separate trips to Alaska, Cuba, Italy and Portugal as well as numerous cities around the continental US.  She had an abiding love for the arts – theater and opera above all – and contributed theater reviews to Bay Area online publications.  A commitment to social justice, community service and volunteering was a constant in her life.  Her cooking was legendary, and the conviviality of eating, drinking and conversing at her table that brought so many people together remains a sweet memory for all.

Verle passed away on August 1, 2016, one month after her 90th birthday.  She is missed by all those who crossed her path and especially by the many she inspired and mentored.