Ruth May Harnar '41

Ruth May Harnar is a determined woman who has lived her life in a dynamic but difficult world. For nearly 40 years, her energies have been focused on nursing education and community health in India and Pakistan.  An ordained missionary for the Christian Church, Ruth Harnar has an academic pedigree that qualifies her to teach at the best universities in the world, but that was not her reason for pursuing higher education.

Miss Harnar began her undergraduate course work at Hiram College, and then headed to John Hopkins where she received her R.N. In short succession thereafter, she completed degrees at Transylvania University, then masters' degrees from The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, at the Western Reserve University and Columbia University. In 1975, Miss Harnar became Dr. Harnar upon completion of her Ed.D. from Columbia University.

But the real story of Dr. Harnar lies in her dedication to the nursing profession and its impact on the lives of the poor and underprivileged in India and Pakistan. Born in 1919 to missionary parents in India, Dr. Harnar is fluent in the Hindi language. Her adult years in India in 1944 began as a missionary nurse, then nursing superintendent and director of the School of Nursing at a hospital in Bilaspur, India.

From 1975 to 1984, she was a driving force in the Voluntary Health Association in New Delhi. In this role, she assisted 17 states in India with moving their health agencies toward better community health, hospital planning and setting up rural health services.

With her knowledge of Hindi, Dr. Harnar has written several textbooks for nursing education in India, countless articles for nursing journals, developed course curriculum and lectured in nearly every country in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Since leaving India in 1984, Dr. Harnar has used her lifelong experience to continue to promote health education. She served for four years as a visiting professor at the Aka Khan Christian Hospital in Pakistan, taught at the University of California in San Francisco, and completed two years with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ruth Harnar was always a faithful alumnus who corresponded and contributed on a regular basis. She was a dedicated woman who has given the world a legacy of nursing care and compassion.

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