On Sunday, the WSU College of Nursing lost one of our founders and an influential figure in nursing in the Pacific Northwest, when Betty Anderson passed away at the age of 99.

Anderson was one of the remarkable nurse leaders whose vision and drive established the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education in 1968, and her legacy is the WSU College of Nursing.

She once said of the College of Nursing, “We were all pioneers back then. And they’re still pioneering today.”

Anderson was the Director of Nursing Service & Education at St. Luke’s Hospital in Spokane when she began discussions with others in the nursing profession about the need for additional nursing instruction in the region. At the time, there were no four-year nursing programs in Eastern Washington.

She was an early proponent of the intercollegiate model, and went personally to WSU in Pullman with Betty Harrington to enlist the support of then-President Glenn Terrell for a baccalaureate nursing program. She was also instrumental in expanding the College of Nursing’s statewide reach. 

Anderson was the truest definition of “nurse leader,” say people who worked with her – kind, caring, strong and principled.

Janet Holloway, WSU Associate Professor Emeritus, said of her friend and mentor, “Early on she modeled many of the nursing values and standards I would later incorporate into my own practice.” In the late 1960s, when Holloway was asked to join the faculty at the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education, “Betty mentored me in many aspects of my new role. I will forever be indebted to her for her assistance,” she said.

There will be no services at Anderson’s request, but Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel of the WSU College of Nursing asks that we keep Anderson’s children, Erik and Signe, along with their families, and all who knew and respected Betty Anderson, in our thoughts today.

If you would like to make a gift in honor of Betty Anderson’s legacy please write a check to the WSU Foundation and note it’s for the Earl & Betty Anderson Nursing Scholarship. Checks can be mailed to WSU College of Nursing, PO Box 1495, Spokane, WA 99210, Attn: Development 443. Alternately, to make an online gift visit https://foundation.wsu.edu/give/ and type “Anderson” in the Search function in the middle of the page. Select the “Earl & Betty Anderson Nursing Scholarship” from the drop-down of funds that appears. Finally, you can reach Brooke Ledeboer, Development Director, with any inquiries at (509) 324-7202 or brooke.ledeboer@wsu.edu.