A Publication of WTVP

William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” The idea of education sparking a fire strikes me as significant when I reflect on the fine educational institutions that have helped shape the history of our region. It’s also true that education is sparking the fire of our future. I see proof of that every day in the nurses of UnityPoint Health – Peoria, who dedicate themselves to lifelong learning. And many of them are continuing their education through an institution that’s part of the UnityPoint Health family: Methodist College.

Methodist College has been adding fuel to the educational fire for more than a century. It traces its roots to 1902 when it graduated its first class of nurses. Then, it was known as the Deaconess Hospital Training School. Nearly half a century later, the school’s first graduate wrote a letter to the nursing students following in her footsteps:

“Our caps were small gauze affairs made of sheer white organdy… When a nurse needed a special light for treatment at night, a candle was used. One night I was holding the candle for another nurse to catheterize a difficult patient. I held the candle too near my gauze cap and it went up in flames. It created some excitement and a mad flurry, but the job had to be finished and it was done capless.” —Mary Charlesworth Mowry, 1950

Today, that same sense of dedication is being instilled in the students of Methodist College. The college has built a strong foundation upon which future healthcare professionals can build their careers. Students participate in real-time clinical scenarios in the state-of-the-art simulation center and gain hands-on experience at our two hospital campuses. Methodist College offers three tracks to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program with concentrations in Behavioral Health and Healthcare Management, a Gerontology Certificate program, and a Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator program. With about 600 students and more than 70 faculty members, it is no wonder that Methodist College is poised for a major growth spurt.

In June, we “broke ground” on its future home, as we are transforming a former furniture store into a cutting-edge hub for health sciences education. When complete, the new college will have more than 80,000 square feet of learning space, with three science labs, a learning technology commons, green space for relaxation and collaboration, and on-site student housing. Construction is underway, and the new facility will welcome its first class in the fall of 2016.

I am so proud of what Methodist College is doing. It’s helping to advance the work of healthcare professionals, spark the careers of students, and it’s a leading force in health sciences education. Methodist College is a tremendous asset to our region. I wonder what Mary Charlesworth Mowry would say if she could see where it is now. iBi