June 3, 2024
Dr. Goldie Crocker Wellness Center at NHTI
Dr. Goldie Crocker Wellness Center at NHTI

You’ve walked through it, saw signs, and maybe even used the fitness center upstairs, but do you know the history behind the Goldie Crocker Wellness Center?

Named for Dr. Goldie Crocker, founder of NHTI’s associate degree program in Nursing and former Nursing department chair (1969-1983), the Wellness Center opened in January 1996. Her idea – to consider students’ past achievements in their formal academic pursuits – and her commitment to increasing accessibility to Allied Health fields were considered radical and impossible. But without them, NHTI would not be the exceptional institution it is today.

Dr. Crocker’s Nursing program was the first of its kind in New Hampshire and is accredited by the National League of Nurses. Her goal was to create a program that prepared individuals for

licensure as RNs to bolster the number of N.H. nurses who provided high-quality healthcare support services. Using her experience leading the Nursing program at Northeastern University, Dr. Crocker designed the LPN-to-RN transition program at NHTI to give students academic credit for their past education and experience.

On June 10, 1974, the first 10 candidates enrolled in Dr. Crocker’s 12-month LPN-to-RN transition program at NHTI. She focused on ensuring that graduates would be indistinguishable from those who had completed NHTI’s 2-year program. It did not take long for this program to flourish.

During her NHTI tenure, Dr. Crocker grew her reputation as a wise professor whom students sought for advice. Outside of NHTI, she served on the board of directors and advisory boards of state, regional, and national nursing groups and other health service organizations. This helped her stay on top of the most current nursing procedures.

In September 1983, former N.H. Governor John Sununu granted Dr. Goldie Crocker a commendation, the state’s highest level of appreciation and recognition, for her exemplary service and devotion to NHTI. Less than a year later, NHTI’s Administrative Council (a then-governing body of faculty and administration) voted unanimously to award Dr. Crocker the Distinguished Service award during the annual nurses’ pinning ceremony.

“The award is usually presented during the commencement,” said former NHTI president Dr. David E. Larrabee at the time, “but we know how important the Nursing students are to Goldie, so we decided to present the award to her at this very special nurses’ ceremony.”

She also received special commendation from the 22 graduating students – the first graduating cohort of students who earned their degrees through daytime-equivalent night classes.

“It is a tradition for nursing students to be pinned by people who were important to them during their time of nursing education,” Dr. Larrabee said. “The students in the EADN program all wanted Dr. Crocker to pin them. They received love, support, and encouragement from their families and friends, but they wanted to express a special feeling for the woman who designed the program to enable them to receive their pins and their associate degrees.”

Funding for the Goldie Crocker Wellness Center comes from the estate planning of Eleanor C. Sprole, a 1979 alumna of NHTI’s Nursing program. After her death in 1982, Ms. Sprole’s family created a trust in her name earmarked for a new indoor physical fitness center at NHTI.

Dr. Crocker passed in 1984, and her family donated to the Eleanor Sprole Trust Fund. The fund was later called the Sprole-Crocker Trust Fund, and it was used to create the Wellness Center we have today.