Verona Gordon, 1976 Carlson Award Winner, Nursing Department

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by

1976 Carlson Award Winner, Verona Gordon, Nursing Department

Verona Gordon

The Edgar M. Carlson Award for Innovative Teaching was established by the Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College to honor our much beloved former President, a man committed to the search for truth and excellence in teaching. The award is made possible by an annual grant of $1,500 from Arnold J. Ryden, former chairman of the board of trustees. Each year it is presented to a Gustavus faculty member selected by a complex process which involves the entire college community. It is in recognition of excellence in the art of instruction.

This year’s award goes to Verona Christofferson Gordon of the Department of Nursing.

At first blush I felt hopelessly unequal to the task of relating to you those qualities of Verona’s teaching which make this award so fitting. For one thing, the unfortunate but necessary separation of the nursing staff from the Saint Peter campus faculty prevented my learning to know Verona well. Indeed, Verona’s selection is not only a tribute to her high achievements, but says, I think, something very positive about the comprehensive character of the selection process. Second, Verona’s field, psychiatric nursing, is one l find as a layman very difficult to comprehend or even imagine. Fortunately, others less ignorant than I, her students and Bethesda colleagues, have helped out and I feel I can give you a small glimpse of the many ways her contributions are so valuable.

And they are valuable. Let me relate just one piece of objective evidence. Each year, graduates of all Minnesota nursing schools take the state board examinations. Naturally, Gustavus Adolphus is accustomed to having its graduates do well in comparison to other schools, whatever the competition, but Verona’s students are extreme even by that high standard. Gustavus nurses have in the recent years, outscored all the other schools by embarrassingly large margins in the category of psychiatric nursing.

The words informed, intelligent, enthusiastic, perceptive and concerned are used frequently by her students and colleagues when describing Verona’s characteristics, and surely such are the necessary elements of any successful teaching. But Verona’s teaching exhibits several important additional features. For example, Verona initiated and chaired the Honors Program in Nursing. She has also developed and initiated an International course on studying health care systems in Europe. ln four years she has taken over 60 Midwest college students to England, Scotland, France, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden during interim studies of socialized medicine.

Moreover, Verona’s students are unanimous in agreeing that she seems always to have time for all of them as individuals, be the problem professional or personal. Now the resources of energy and organizational talent which this implies for Verona boggle the mind. For Verona, in addition to her teaching, is a wife and the mother of five, active in the church, until recently heavily involved in pursuing her own formal education and quite appropriately maintains an impressive contact with the nursing profession in Scandinavia.

In short, Verona is a truly remarkable person and teacher, much and deservedly loved by her grateful students.

Verona, l am honored to be able to present to you the 1976 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Innovative Teaching.

Presented by James Costello
Professor of Physics
1975 Recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award


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