By Jordan Beach
The McVay family has been a longtime supporter of Reinhardt, and the family’s generational support will live on through the establishment of the Hilda Luthi McVay Scholarship for the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences.
Hilda Luthi McVay, known as “Hildie,” and her late husband Birch George McVay, began supporting Reinhardt after meeting then president Floyd Falany, due to the school’s Methodist affiliation and Christian spirit. Their daughter Kipling “Kip” McVay-Stubbs will continue that support through a scholarship fund in memory of the decades her mother spent committed to saving and bettering lives. The scholarship will benefit students of Reinhardt University’s Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences in honor of Hildie McVay.
“Reinhardt will always be grateful for the contributions this family has made, and we appreciate the legacy Kip McVay is continuing by honoring her mother,” said Dale Morrissey, senior director of constituent engagement.
With the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences accepting its fourth cohort in the fall, dean Dr. Glynis Blackard is proud to carry on the legacy of Hildie McVay’s nursing career through her students’ work.
“I’m so thankful for Judge McVay and the scholarship being established in honor of her mother Hilda McVay, a registered nurse,” said Blackard. “This gift will continue Mrs. McVay’s legacy as a healthcare professional and support student nurses in their journey toward achieving their dream—to become a registered nurse. What a beautiful way for the Judge to honor her mother.”
Hildie McVay spent her life as a dedicated Methodist and nurse who focused her time and energy on caring for others. Following her graduation from Asbury Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1942, she served in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps in World War II as a private duty nurse with rank of second lieutenant, assigned to Camp Crowder as a spinal meningitis specialist, and was later assigned to second Air Force in Rapid City, North Dakota, a position that led to her meeting and marrying her husband, an Army Air Force Pilot.
After her honorable discharge and her husband’s release from a German prisoner of war camp, the couple moved to Georgia, where Mrs. McVay became a licensed Registered Nurse and furthered her education by taking courses at the University of Georgia. While raising her two children, Frank and Kip, she worked as a private duty nurse in four states and became a member of the American Nurses Association.
Later in life, Hilda and Birch McVay took over the family’s drug store, McVay’s Pharmacy, in Cochran, Georgia. The couple participated in numerous military organizations and Hilda McVay became a charter supporter of the National Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. McVay also volunteered her nursing skills with local Red Cross blood drives and with Bryant Nursing Homes as a volunteer training instructor to ensure the home complied with Department of Public Health requirements. She also helped with patient visitation at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dublin.
Georgia writer Jerri Tuck wrote of Hilda McVay in her book, “Gone Fishin’,” saying, “She was one of the finest Christian women I knew in Cochran. She had a love for people and a love for the Lord that could not be equaled.”
Hilda McVay returned to education once again, this time to earn her degree in theology, and before earning her degree, she served as a chaplain for the Department of Georgia Reserve Officers Association Ladies Clubs chapter and for the auxiliary members of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, both in Warner Robins. In addition, she served in a jail ministry for women to provide spiritual uplifting and healing.
“My mother was the epitome of a nurse who was well trained, ethical, caring and hard working. There are many nurses in my family, including my brother Frank and all of them have lived up to high standards,” said Kip McVay. “That’s what I anticipate from Reinhardt’s nurse graduates and am very honored to be part of it.”