1980: Jean Kresge, R.N.

1980: Jean Kresge, R.N., Organized First Annual Health Fair

Jean Kresge, R.N., often invited local health groups to campus to provide free screenings and other services to students, so she decided to host a health fair on campus that would bring multiple health services together during a single spring weekend.

The 1st Annual Health Fair took place on May 1 – 2, 1980 and included exhibits, screenings, counseling, and demonstrations from about 15 local and state health agencies. The event was open to the public. Kresge recruited student volunteers and gave them a warm thank you in a letter-to-the-editor.

The first Health Fair had about 200 participants but grew in size each year afterwards as Kresge and other student organizations continued to host it. At age 61, Kresge passed after a several-month illness in 1989. The college stopped hosting the health fair after her death because no one else was able or willing to organize it.

Kresge graduated from Westmoreland County Hospital before working at Wilkes Barre General Hospital and then started at Capitol Campus in 1971 as the daytime R.N. She said she enjoyed working with college-aged patients because they were “fun to be with.”

In addition to hosting the Health Fair and her general duties as R.N., she also taught CPR classes because Capitol Campus was one of few campuses with training mannequins; advocated for more handicap accessible campus facilities; facilitated Stop Smoking clinics; and occasionally made house-calls to dormitories for ill students. For all of this and more, Kresge won the College Service Award in 1988.

Leave a Reply