A summer monsoon did not stop the WNMU community and the family of the late Pam Kuthe from dedicating a sculpture of the former WNMU professor and nurse on August 28, 2023. The bronze sculpture, titled “Nursing Is a Calling,” was commissioned by the university and created by the team of sculptors at Made in Silver City, Colette Beers, Chelsea Boone, Maurice Camacho and Michael Metcalf.
Kuthe, who retired from WNMU in 2007 and passed away in 2020, was a long-time Silver City nurse, a dedicated educator and a valued colleague. WNMU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jack Crocker welcomed those attending the event and spoke of the qualities that nurses possess and that Kuthe embodied. Nurses practice “the best qualities of humankind,” said Crocker, “[They are] intelligent, ethical, committed [and] persevering.”
Among the others speaking at the dedication was retired physician John Bell, who worked with Kuthe for many years at Gila Regional Medical Center and its predecessor Hillcrest General Hospital. Bell said that Kuthe had “overwhelming energy” as well as the determination to create the modern nursing program at the university. “She had the vision and somehow knew the steps” to create a nursing program, said Bell. He also noted how Kuthe continued to provide patient care, even while teaching and serving in a leadership position in her department. Said Bell, “Pam was always on the battlefield” of patient care.
Members of Kuthe’s family also spoke at the dedication. Her daughter, Valerie Kuthe, read a statement from former nursing professor Pat McIntyre, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Said McIntyre of her former colleague, “Pam was the reason for excellence in the nursing program. After she accepted the challenge of developing an associate degree in nursing program . . . she researched nursing curriculum. She put together a sound nursing educational program, and that initial curriculum continued until the School of Nursing adopted the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium curriculum for the bachelor’s in nursing program.” McIntyre lauded Kuthe’s knowledge of accreditation standards and her advocacy on behalf of the nursing program. She also noted how Kuthe’s work and dedication have been honored. “Pam was honored in her retirement as a legend in nursing by the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence,” said McIntyre, “This award pays tribute to retired nurses whose lifetime achievements have significantly contributed to the profession, and this certainly describes her contributions to the profession and nursing in Grant County and beyond.”
Pam Kuthe’s husband, Dave Kuthe, spoke of her ability to find balance in her life. “Like many of her students, she somehow balanced the demands of family, work, and community with humor and creativity,” he said. Their son, Charles Kuthe, closed the dedication ceremony by remembering his mother and talking about the importance of nursing as a profession. He then thanked WNMU “not just for the statue but for [its] commitment to education.” Said Charles Kuthe, “Thank you for choosing to train the next generation of compassionate nurses who make our lives and this world so much better.”