OHSU Welcomes Winter

Portland and Mt. Hood covered in snow, 1930. School of Nursing Archives Collection.

A Spirit of Service

The winter holiday season is historically a season of community service and philanthropy, and in a health sciences institution like OHSU, a year-round spirit of service takes on an additional dimension of good cheer. From philanthropic activities at some of our most notable institutions, to the wartime efforts of faculty, staff, and students, many OHSUians have spent holidays in service to others.

Department of Diagnostic Radiology chair Dr. Charles Dotter hosted an unexpected New Year’s guest to start 1958: Hector the penguin. When the Oregon Zoo’s penguins, temporarily living at Peninsula Park, became ill with a fungal lung disease, Hector the penguin came to UOMS for diagnostic x-rays on New Year’s Eve. Dr. Dotter could not leave Hector alone over the holiday, so he took Hector home in consultation with the zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. Clifford Bjork. With a steady diet of a new antibiotic, vitamins, and herring, the penguin made an unexpected recovery under Dr. Dotter’s care.

“Emperor Pioneer in Fight to Save Portland Flock.” Oregonian, December 31, 1957. Newspaper Folios Collection.

Community and Celebrations

 Late fall and early winter are a season marked by holiday parties, time-honored traditions, and sharing a bit of fun with colleagues. Schools and programs celebrate their communities and give thanks for supportive colleagues. One popular tradition, the School of Nursing Wassail, has existed for decades in some form or another, changing with the demands of the day.

The celebrated tradition of the annual School of Nursing Wassail began after World War II as a way for the school to celebrate the winter holidays with students and to give thanks to the community of the nursing school. A special Wassail spiced cider recipe was created by faculty member Eva Davis and closely guarded for the occasion. After a brief hiatus in the 1980s, the Wassail tradition was revived in 1993 by the Alumni Association.

School of Nursing faculty and students gather at the faculty-sponsored Wassail celebration, 1946. School of Nursing Archives Collection.

Winter Wonderland

Snow is historically a once- or twice-yearly event in Portland. A campus covered in snow has served as an opportunity for OHSUians to build snowmen, throw a snowball or two, and of course, take photographs. Between visions of snow-capped Mount Hood and campus buildings ensconced in white, there is much beauty to behold at OHSU when snow comes to the Willamette Valley.

Student snowball fight, 1940. Charles F. Norris Photograph Album.

Winter Publications

 Previous iterations of campus news publications often highlighted festive or seasonal themes for their winter issues. What’s Going On? was a favorite campus newsletter for several decades, starting in the 1950s. November and December issues featured stories of holiday celebrations, tasty Thanksgiving cafeteria specials, and even the latest in snow blowing technology.

Text by Meg Langford, Public Services Coordinator
Selections by Meg Langford and Maija Anderson, Director, Curatorial Services

What’s Going On? Campus newsletter, November 1959. Archival Publications Collection.