While Vella Stewart encountered enormous change throughout her life, one thing remained constant — her compassion for others.
Born in 1904, Vella graduated from the Lord Lister Hospital diploma program in Omaha with a diploma in nursing and later received formal training in anesthesia. She spent years as a nurse in rural Nebraska and shared stories of administering anesthesia to patients on the floor or the kitchen table as they underwent medical procedures in their homes. Vella passed away in 2009 at the age of 105.
Through her estate she gifted her farm to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit the students, faculty and programs of the UNMC College of Nursing.
To recognize Vella Stewart’s contributions to the education of nurses and the nursing profession, UNMC has established the Vella Elsie Stewart Health Assessment Laboratory on the center’s second level.