Southeast Nursing Honor Society Celebrating 25th Anniversary

nursing groupOrganization Marks Milestone with ‘Backpacks for Nursing Students in Haiti,’ Initiative

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 1, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Honor Society of Nursing will celebrate its 25th anniversary during the University’s Homecoming week festivities in October.

The Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing will mark a quarter century of excellence at Southeast with a reception and program Thursday evening, Oct. 15, at the River Campus. The reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. with the program to follow at 6:45 p.m. in the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center.

Sigma Theta Tau, International, advances world health and celebrates nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service. In 1936, the honor society became the first U.S. organization to fund nursing research. The organization has 405,000 inducted members worldwide. More than 135,000 active members make Sigma Theta Tau International the second largest organization in the United States. Members reside in more than 85 countries, and there are 500 chapters on college campuses.

Featured speaker at the 25th anniversary program will be Dr. Gina Bufe, who will be receiving an Alumni Merit Award during Homecoming festivities from the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association. Bufe, of Chesterfield, Missouri, is a 1987graduate of Southeast, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is a member of the Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Bufe holds a Master of Science in Nursing (Research) and doctoral degree from Saint Louis University. Bufe is an advanced practice nurse (APRN) at St. Louis Mercy Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri, a collaborative outpatient clinic practice with board certified child/adolescent psychiatrists providing therapy, psychopharmacology and family support to children and adolescents. Bufe holds American Nurses Credentialing Center certifications as an Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse and as a Child/Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and received her APRN document of recognition in Missouri.

While at Southeast, Bufe was a member of the women’s gymnastics team and the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

In 1996, Bufe was named the recipient of Southeast’s Young Alumni Merit Award. She also is a multi-year Redhawks Level member of the Southeast Alumni Association and Copper Dome Society.  She was inducted into the Southeast Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004 as a member of the 1987 U.S. Gymnastics Federation Collegiate National Championship Team.

“It is through having learned strong fundamental nursing and critical thinking skills at SEMO combined with hard work, perseverance, determination and a strong sense of faith that has led to a long-lasting career that can make a difference to others,” Bufe said.

During the anniversary celebration, the Lambda Theta Chapter will promote its community service initiative, “Backpacks for Nursing Students in Haiti,” a global initiative of Sigma Theta Tau. The chapter’s goal is to collect and fill 25 backpacks with supplies needed by nursing students at the Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti.

“Most students in the program are lacking adequate supplies and are sharing items such as pencils and notepads,” said Desma Reno, assistant professor of nursing at Southeast and Lambda Theta Chapter president. “This project is about nurses helping the Haitian nursing students achieve their goal of becoming a nurse. We are asking Chapter members and others to participate in helping us achieve our goal.”

Supplies being collected include sturdy school backpacks, copy paper, notebook paper, composition notebooks, pocket size note pads for clinicals, pencils, ink pens, highlighters, markers, paper clips, tape, glue, simple water bottles, bandages, scissors, hemostats, alcohol prep pads, pill crushers, pill cutters, pen lights, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, bar soap, wash cloths, nail clippers and small sewing kits. Those donating items are asked to remove the supplies from store packaging and place them in Ziploc bags, if possible. Items may be delivered to the anniversary celebration and program or to the Department of Nursing. Cash donations for mailing the backpacks also are being accepted. Donations may be made to Lambda Theta Chapter and mailed to Desma Reno, Department of Nursing, One University Plaza MS-8300, Cape Girardeau, MO, 63701

Also during the anniversary celebration, the honor society will name a scholarship in memory of Margaret Woods Allen, who supported the honor society’s chartering at Southeast and who was one of the Department of Nursing’s significant benefactors.

The late Allen of Sikeston, Mo., was a special benefactor to the Department of Nursing at Southeast. She and her daughter, Margaret Wesner, were both registered nurses.

Allen graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. She received her nursing degree from Washington University School of Nursing in St. Louis. After graduating, Allen married a cotton farmer from Sikeston, Mo., and moved to this region, where she raised her family and invested successfully in the stock market.

Allen was a charter member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation and the Foundation’s President’s Council. In 1987, she was named a “Friend of the University” which is the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation.

In 1988, she created the first endowed chair in the history of the University for the Department of Nursing. Throughout her lifetime, she supported the Department of Nursing in many other ways. She established research awards in the Lambda Theta Tau Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau through which many faculty and students have received funding for their research. Her endowment also supports the Lambda Theta Tau Chapter through a yearly stipend.

At her death, Allen endowed the Department of Nursing’s Office of Addictions Research. This office supports both faculty members and students in their research work, and Mrs. Allen’s daughter, Margaret, is an active participant in directing this office.

During the 25th anniversary, recognition will be given to the late Rosemary Berkel Crisp. Like Allen, the late Rosemary Berkel Crisp also had a deeply held interest in Southeast’s nursing program. She and her husband, Harry L. Crisp II of Marion, Illinois, presented a major financial gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation in 1984 for expansion and renovation of the Southeast nursing building. The facility was named Rosemary Berkel Crisp Hall of Nursing in 1986, and extensive renovation of the facility followed.

Dr. Linda Heitman, Southeast professor of nursing, proposed Mrs. Crisp for membership in the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and she was installed in Tampa, Florida, in 1991. Mrs. Crisp remained active in the organization’s inductions and with the chapter until her death.

Mrs. Crisp received the “Friend of the University” Award from Southeast in 1986. Harry L. Crisp II was named the “Friend of the University” in 2005.  Both were charter members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.  The Crisps were also charter members of the President’s Council, the Foundation organization to recognize major donors. Mrs. Crisp was instrumental in organizing and was the first chairperson of the Southeast President’s Council and served for more than a decade.

The Southeast Missouri Regional Museum at Southeast’s River Campus is named for the Crisps, who also provided the Harry L. Crisp II Bootheel Education Center that houses Southeast Missouri State University-Malden.

Those wishing to attend the Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing reception and program are asked to contact Reno at (573) 651-2939 or