“When my aunt passed, I received a bequest from her estate,” explains Marshall. “My aunt had an impressive career in nursing. I know that she would approve of supporting the upcoming generation of people in the nursing profession. I could not think of a better way to honor her life.”
A Distinguished Nurse and Mentor
Cullen’s distinguished career in nursing began when she trained at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, England. This earned her the “Nightingale” badge – an achievement of which she remained rightly proud throughout her life. She rose through the ranks over the years and by the early-1960s, held the prestigious position of Lady Superintendent at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
Cullen served as a mentor to family, friends and colleagues, instilling her adventurous spirit, kindness and generosity in those around her. When he was 18 years old, Marshall travelled from Canada to Edinburgh upon Cullen’s invitation. She had arranged for him to work an eight-week position at the Royal Infirmary during his visit. Although Marshall jokes this experience was both the “start and end” of his career in health care, the experience gave him great respect for the profession and insight into what future recipients of his bursary will experience.
Supporting Education Locally
The decision to make his gift at Selkirk College was an easy one. Shortly after his experience in Edinburgh, Marshall made his way out west to the Kootenays, where he has been ever since. Marshall was a beloved elementary school teacher at the Cook Avenue School in Rossland before settling in Kaslo for retirement. Local education is important to Marshall and his connection Selkirk College runs deep.
“I am an alumnus of the Fine Woodworking Program at Selkirk College and have returned as a Continuing Education instructor, providing cabinet-making workshops as night classes for adults. I know my aunt would be very happy to know that some of her bequest to me will educate students in her profession in my hometown.”
A Timely Gift
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated just how important health care professionals are to resilient and safe communities. Especially as the pandemic compounds budget challenges for many, financial support for students is critical to ensure a strong and vibrant health care workforce.
“My aunt would have thrown herself into the thick of the COVID-19 response efforts – helping to organize the nursing staff and ensure everyone was taken care of,” he says. “She would be very happy to see her legacy left behind to support students with this same level of care and drive at a time like this.”
The Muriel Florence Cullen Memorial Bursary in Nursing will become available in February 2021.