Indiana State University Newsroom

Speakers Series event marks Indiana State nursing program's anniversary

April 1, 2013

The Indiana State University Speakers Series will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the university's nursing program with a presentation by a nursing alumna and servant leader.

Pam Blesch will discuss "Serving through Giving: A Lifetime of Servant Leadership" at 7 p.m. April 16 in University Hall Theater.

The Terre Haute native who completed a bachelor's degree in nursing at Indiana State in 1976 is featured in the 2010 book "Giving through Teaching: How Nurse Educators are Changing the World." The book is a compilation of articles about 70 nursing educators and their students who give of their time, talents and skills to help others.

"We are pleased to have an alumna coming back to present her inspirational experiences in person," said Esther Acree, associate professor of baccalaureate nursing completion. "Pam is helping us kick-off the 50th year of nursing at Indiana State. Officially it will start in the fall but this is one way to help us move forward with all the accomplishments we have made in nursing in those 50 years."

A former surgical nurse at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Blesch has been a nursing faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith since 1996. Since a journey to Burundi in 1975 while an Indiana State student, Blesch has continued to heed the call to serve. She has traveled to such countries as Senegal, Gambia, Colombia, Ecuador and Ukraine. These days, she is the nurse who inspires a new generation of students. In 2009, she took nursing students from Fort Smith to Uganda.

"Giving through Teaching" describes Blesch as "a shining light who epitomizes caring that goes beyond the walls of a classroom or a hospital. Because she volunteers her time and provides health care in the global environment, she is often characterized - as much by her students as her colleagues - as a missionary.

It is a label Blesch is proud to wear. In addition to addressing the medical needs of people she serves in other countries, her volunteer efforts give her the opportunity to "spread the gospel a little bit as well as impact health care." Her summer journeys are in conjunction with religious organizations, including the World Gospel Church and Southern Baptist Convention.

Blesch mirrors the same humanitarian spirit in her community that she displays internationally. She serves on the board of directors of the Terre Haute-based Froderman Foundation which promotes religious, educational, medical and/or charitable causes. She has also served on the board of Hannah House, a faith-based residence for pregnant and troubled young women in Fort Smith.

A Terre Haute native, Blesch attended Gerstmeyer Technical High School for its final two years and was part of the first graduating class of Terre Haute North Vigo High School. In addition to her bachelor's degree, she holds a master's from Indiana University and is pursuing a Ph.D. from Capella University.

Like all University Speakers Series events, Blesch's presentation is free and open to the public.


Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or