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 SRU, Clarion, Edinboro Universities Form Minority Nursing Scholarship to Honor Pioneer 



July 15, 2005

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4854;



SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. Many students who graduated from Pittsburgh Public Schools might not recognize Hattie Turk’s name, but they owe a lot to the leadership she exerted when she led the school district’s health services. And now her inspired leadership, in multiple settings,  is being acknowledged by the naming of a scholarship in her name. 

The Hattie Turk Scholarship for Advanced Practice Nursing Students is the brainchild of members of the minority mentoring committee of the Clarion, Edinboro and Slippery Rock Universities Master of Science in Nursing Program.

 The committee consists of six African-American family nurse practitioners who graduated from the program and share an interest in enabling other African-American nurses to continue their educations at the master’s degree level and a desire to recognize Turk.

The committee recently launched a $100,000 fund-raising campaign to support the scholarship, which the SRU Foundation, Inc., will manage. Once funded, the Hattie Turk Scholarship will provide up to $10,000 a year to students who are enrolled in the program. Concerned about the lack of adequate numbers of minorities in advanced practice nursing roles, the committee has determined that priority will be given to African-American nursing students.

Role model

Retired from the Pittsburgh Public School District since 1997, Turk, of Pittsburgh, was one of the first black women to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing in 1956, an era with few black graduates. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in education from Duquesne University, a master’s in public management from Carnegie Mellon University and a certificate as a nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh.

“Nursing is a good profession offering opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the members of our communities while earning a good living in a career where every day offers a challenge,” she said.

Turk’s wide influence

Turk spent 16 years as director of health services at the Community College of Allegheny County where she provided primary care to students. She then moved to the Pittsburgh Public School District, where she encouraged students to pursue advanced education.

 “When our committee started talking about pioneers in nursing who had worked to create upward mobility for nurses of color, committee members immediately thought of Mrs. Turk,” said SRU Dr. Joyce Penrose, professor of nursing and member of the joint nursing program faculty

Overcoming barriers

As part of the campaign for the Hattie Turk Scholarship, the members of the minority mentoring committee, nurse practitioners Victoria Bryant, Cheryl Baxter, Jocelyn Coleman, Leslie Lubiano-Vining, Lyvonne Parker-Hall and Joyce Sadik, have produced “Overcoming Barriers,” a publication that describes their own struggles to achieve their dreams of becoming advanced practice nurses.

Individuals seeking information about the scholarship or to support the fund-raising campaign should contact Ruth Purcell, director of SRU advancement, at 724-738-2191.

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