When students return to the School of Nursing this fall, they may notice a shiny silver square outside of room 431 and the absence of a familiar and friendly face.
The fourth-floor lecture hall was officially (and affectionately) named Gehrke Hall this past May. It honors Pamela Gehrke, recently-retired associate professor and director of the doctor of nursing practice program.
Gehrke (pronounced yer-key) was awarded emeritus status at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic school year. It was her 35th year with the School of Nursing. Beginning as an adjunct professor, she progressively grew in leadership throughout her tenure.
“She has been a role model for students and faculty for the School of Nursing for decades.” said Anne Payne, former department chair of the School of Nursing. “Pam was known by students to be an admired, insightful and brilliant community health expert.”
Gehrke received her doctorate of education in curriculum, instruction and foundational studies from Boise State. She was instrumental in developing nursing policy courses, and she impressed upon her students the importance of using their voices in the community.
She also designed and taught the College of Health Sciences’ very first online course in 1998.
Pam Springer is a former associate dean of the College of Health Sciences and director of the School of Nursing. She knew Gehrke during Springer’s entire 25 years at Boise State. “Pam held her students to a very high standard and motivated them and assisted them to reach those goals,” she said.
But Gehrke’s impact stretches beyond her own classroom. A rigorous scholar and trusted confidant, Gehrke regularly shared her vast nursing and institutional knowledge. She often modeled both formal and informal peer mentoring.
“I have had the joy of hearing from healthcare leaders, higher education leaders and faculty who were her students,” said Shelle Poole, divisional dean of the School of Nursing. “They all say the same thing: she left an indelible mark on them.”
The engraved plaque outside room 431 is more than just an homage to a department icon. It stands to remind all who visit the School of Nursing of Gehrke’s legacy and inspire them to similar excellence.