Ventura College to Commemorate Nursing Program’s Healthy Half-Century Mark

Ventura, CA - On May 19, Ventura College will graduate its 50th class of nurses as 43 students receive their nursing pins, symbolic of service to others, by veteran registered nurses during an emotional ceremony whose roots date back 1,000 years to the Maltese Cross worn by crusaders.

The pinning event kicks off a celebratory year that honors Ventura County’s oldest nursing program with the inaugural distribution of the Paul and Bessie Carter Nursing Scholarship totaling $20,000, and receipt of a $65,000 program grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation for the nursing assistant program.

Events honoring alumni and current nursing program students will be held throughout the year-long celebration, culminating May 2015.

“Just in the past 14 years, Ventura College has produced more than 1,700 nurses. You can’t enter a patient floor in any hospital in the county and not find several of our graduates. We are proud that our program is known for its rigor, and our graduates are known for their high level of skills, knowledge and compassion,” said Sandra Melton, PhD, RN, nursing director.

The popular program attracted the support of the late Bessie Carter, who used the bulk of her estate to establish a scholarship fund with the Ventura College Foundation. In early May, four students each received $5,000 from this new scholarship program. The recipients include Angie Salcido, Shannon Franco and Benjamin Romero III, all from Ventura, and Rashea Paquette of Oxnard.

More reason to celebrate is the $65,000 grant from the Dorothy D. Rupe Nursing Program fund at the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation in support of the certified nursing assistant program. The foundation’s grants are awarded to programs providing quality entry-level healthcare training for students, thereby creating economic opportunity for individuals, as well as increasing the availability of certified nursing assistants and home health assistants in California communities demonstrating a critical need in the workforce.

“The program support and scholarship funds we are receiving create a tremendous ripple effect that touches so many lives, from our program’s students, graduates and their families, to all the patients and their loved ones. Nursing changes lives in a profound and positive way,” said Melton.

An 80-year Ventura resident of modest means, Bessie Carter passed away in 2012 at 100 years old. She and her husband worked as civil servants at the Naval Base Ventura County before retiring in the 1960s. “They are proof that you don’t have to be wealthy to create a lasting legacy,” said Norbert Tan, executive director of the Ventura College Foundation.

For more information about scholarship funds and other giving opportunities, contact the Ventura College Foundation at

The Ventura College registered nursing program offers an associate’s degree in nursing science, and is accredited by the California State Board of Registered Nursing, and the National Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace, an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Norbert Tan at (805) 289-6160 or Or visit