Grossmont Healthcare District board member was keynote speaker at college graduation commencement

Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) board member Virginia Hall, a retired registered nurse, was the recent keynote speaker at Grossmont College’s 2017 commencement ceremony.

About 4,000 people attended the commencement ceremony to hear Hall and celebrate the college’s 1,581 graduates with many students receiving multiple credentials, cumulatively earning 3,744 degrees and certificates. Hall, who serves as GHD 2017 board secretary, earned her associate degree in nursing at the El Cajon, Calif.-based Grossmont College in 1978.

“Don’t ever let anyone say that you can’t do something you really want to accomplish,” Hall said. “In the sixth grade, while tending to a friend with a bloody nose on a Girl Scout camping trip, I knew I wanted to help others. Then, in high school, my guidance counselor told me that I would never be a nurse. Then, after my acceptance to San Diego State University, I discovered a moratorium had been placed on entering their nursing program. So, I changed directions and came to Grossmont College.

“While at Grossmont,” Hall continued, “I took my prerequisites at night while working full-time as a nurse’s aide at a local hospital. Then, when I applied to enter the Grossmont College nursing program, I was not accepted. As a 22-year-old young, polite woman, I was intimidated at my group interview by seven other nursing applicants who boldly spoke their minds and interrupted each other to make sure they were heard. I barely got a word in.

“Later I realized they were looking for people with strong character who were willing to stand up to doctors when something didn’t sound right. So, like a bull, I was ready for the next year’s group interview. Needless to say, I was accepted.”

Hall worked in healthcare from 1973 to 2004 at local hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics and research facilities. She also participated on research boards, presented at several national nursing conferences and had her work featured in several medical publications. Starting in 1997 at Scripps Clinic, Hall worked as an orthopedic nurse clinician and in the research division. Her findings on the partial knee replacement were published in a medical journal. She also authored an educational brochure to help patients prepare for surgery.

“In nursing, I have seen people at their best and worst,” Hall said in her speech. “I loved helping people get well and being there through difficult times in their lives, and even death. I believe with God’s help that all my experiences have made me a stronger, better person.”

Also in her commencement address, Hall discussed the importance of patience, persistence and perspiration, “which makes an unbeatable combination of success.” She told the students, “The long classes, endless studying, nights of cramming and waiting for parking spaces, all lead to opening doors of opportunity. You may need to take more classes or work harder, but never lose faith in yourself. Never stop learning and improving yourself.”

Since 2003, Hall has worked in real estate and has been active in the community of Santee, including serving as 2016 president of the Santee Chamber of Commerce. Her husband Ronn has served as a member of the Santee City Council since November 2014.

In the November 2016 general election, Hall was elected to a four-year term on the GHD board as a new member. She finished first in a field of six candidates that included two incumbents, who were reelected. Click here to learn more about the current GHD board of directors.