KSU to honor founding director of nursing program at special memorial service

Charlotte Sachs

Charlotte Sachs remembered as a pioneer KENNESAW, Ga. (March 21, 2012) — The Kennesaw State…

Georgia (Mar 21, 2012)Charlotte Sachs remembered as a pioneer

KENNESAW, Ga. (March 21, 2012) — The Kennesaw State University community is mourning the death of Charlotte Sachs, founding director of the university’s nursing program. Sachs, 94, died Jan. 26. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 25, 3 p.m., at Temple Kehillat Chaim.

“Mrs. Sachs was a pioneer in developing the nursing program at KSU,” said WellStar College of Health and Human Services Dean Richard Sowell. “Her contributions to the nursing program were significant in establishing a tradition of excellence that has propelled the program to its current status as the largest undergraduate B.S.N. program in Georgia.”

Today, the nursing program that Sachs founded is one of the premier academic programs at KSU. In 2010, the WellStar School of Nursing graduated approximately 200 B.S.N. candidates.

After earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Emory University, Sachs founded the nursing program at what was then Kennesaw Junior College in 1968, at a time when associate degrees in nursing were just starting to emerge. The program has since grown into the WellStar School of Nursing, which offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

“Dr. (Horace W.) Sturgis, when he interviewed me, said, ‘The grade-point for admission is 1.6.  Do we have to lower it for the nursing students?’” Sachs recalled during an interview for an oral history project. “I said, ‘Lower it?!  If anything it has to be raised.’ And I was very right.  Out of the first class of 36 students, one quit the day after orientation leaving 35, and they all gradually quit or failed.  By the time graduation came six of them graduated out of the first class.”

The upside of such a rigorous program? Not one student in the “first few classes” failed the state licensing exam.

“That was a big thing, and it still is, I’m sure, but I was very proud of that,” Sachs told the oral history interviewer.

Sachs was born in Germany and immigrated to New York in 1936 after Hitler came to power. Her first job in the U.S. was as a maid (she had taken a housekeeping course in Germany). In 1937 she entered nursing school at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, graduating as a registered nurse after three years. She moved to Atlanta in the 1940s after her husband took a job as a chemical consultant.

Sachs then started taking nursing courses at Georgia State University and completed her bachelor’s at Emory in 1959. She worked for the DeKalb County Health Department and Emory University Hospital. In 1961, she earned a master’s in nursing from Emory. She was hired to start the nursing program in 1968 at Kennesaw Junior College, which then had barely 1,000 students and where men outnumbered women 2:1. She was director of the program until 1979 and retired from KSU in 1984.




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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 students from more than 130 countries.











A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu