Marge Sanchez: Retired Director of Nursing Looks Back at Her Time at Sierra College

July 1, 2016

Marge Sanchez always knew she wanted to be a nurse. At six years old she spent her days dropping dolls off her second floor balcony to the cement below in order to bandage them up and take care of them. After following her passion of nursing, she came to Sierra College.

Marge threw herself into the vocational nursing program at Sierra College with the same passion she had for taking care of people. She remembers a meeting with Frank Van Vliet in 1962. Upon introducing herself, he immediately handed her the keys to the classroom. After talking for a while she decided to see the classroom with her husband. “I opened the door and here was the biggest mess I have ever seen in my life. My husband and I talked about it and [he] said ‘Well, you always enjoyed a challenge. Why don’t you go ahead.’”

Marge Sanchez teaching a nursing student
Marge Sanchez (left) in her nursing class – SIERRA COLLEGE ARCHIVE

Under Marge’s leadership, the program grew quickly. Having personally interviewed each student within the program, she personally witnessed how dedicated the students had to be in overcoming many obstacles just to get to class. 

We had one student from Foresthill who went through flood, fire, a pregnancy, and went ahead and had her baby over Thanksgiving holiday and was back at school on Monday. That’s how devoted those students were.

Marge Sanchez, Retired Director of Nursing

One of her fondest memories, she says with a chuckle and a smile, was when she was presented with a decorated and signed toilet seat on stage in front of the whole audience. “At one graduation ceremony…they presented me with a gift and out comes a toilet seat with some hinges embedded in it and bandages. This is on stage in front of everyone. That’s one event that I do remember.”

After she retired, she continued giving back to Sierra College by assisting with the Foundation and Sierra College Patrons club for over 25 years. To this day, her passion lives on.

Marge Sanchez honored by Sierra College nursing student
Marge Sanchez Honored by Student – SIERRA COLLEGE ARCHIVE