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After graduating from Minneapolis South High School in 1929, Frances McHie attempted to enroll in the nursing program of the University of Minnesota; she was denied admission because of her color. W. Gertrude Brown, a local activist, and Sylvanus A. Stockwell, a Minnesota state senator, helped her to petition the legislature to become the first Black nursing student, she graduated in 1932 with a double major.
Upon her graduation in 1932, Frances became the first Black woman to be employed by Minneapolis General Hospital (now Hennepin County Medical Center) as a supervisor of the outpatient clinic. She was also one of the twelve nurses to break the color barrier at Herman Kiefer Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Frances began her role in higher education as an Associate Professor and Assistant to the Director of the School of Nursing at Tuskegee Institute. She was also an assistant professor to the Director of the School of Nursing at Meharry Medical College, as well as the director of nursing service for their Hubbard Hospital.
The Frances McHie Scholarship seeks to award small financial grants to individual students at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing who are interested in becoming nurses or seeking to advance their nursing education. African American nursing students, non-white students, and first-generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply. Addressing racism in the healthcare field was a lifelong pursuit of Frances McHie. This scholarship is intended to continue her legacy.
Congratulations to our four 2021 – 2022 University of Minnesota School of Nursing Frances McHie Scholar:
For 2022 and beyond, consider submitting a tax-deductible donation to the University of Minnesota’s Frances McHie Scholarship HERE
Many Thanks to the Donors below who have contributed to this scholarship and the diverse future of healthcare: