Indiana State’s story is best told through its graduates and faculty. Here is one of a dozen people who exemplifies the university’s key qualities.
When Pam Blesch flew back from a missionary trip as a teenager and saw the Statue of Liberty, she burst into tears.
“I was just so appreciative to have been born in this country,” she said. “We are blessed in America to have so many resources that people in other countries cannot even fathom.”
Ever since she can remember, Blesch wanted to be a nurse and help others. During her senior year of high school in Terre Haute, Blesch had already registered at an Ohio College to study nursing. Then she visited Indiana State during a Senior Day program and her future college plans took a big change.
“I didn’t even know that ISU had a nursing program,” she said. “I will never forget sitting in a conference room when Dr. Harriett Reeves said, ‘Young lady, did you even know we had a four-year program?’ She said, “I strongly suggest you consider staying home and going to this program.’”
She graduated from Indiana State in 1976 with a nursing degree, a member of the first four-year nursing class to graduate. “I’m so glad I stayed at home. ISU was on the cutting edge with a four-year nursing school. In 1976, that was big time.”
Blesch then went on to earn a master’s degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Capella University. She is now a full-time associate professor at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and an adjunct faculty member in the Masters of Nursing program at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
Blesch also travels the world to share her public health skills in other countries, participating in more than 30 mission trips. Her efforts were honored in the book “Giving Through Teaching: How Nurse Educators are Changing the World.”
“It is all about public health. I believe we need to step outside our comfort zone and go to places that do not have the resources we do,” she said. “As an individual, we need to have compassion for those who don’t have what we do.”