January 22, 2008
Jaunita Proctor was a pioneer long before she became an Oklahoma Baptist University pioneer.
One of the founding faculty members for OBUís nursing program, the Atoka native was recently inducted into the Atoka High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
Proctor, professor emerita of nursing since 1985, served on the OBU faculty for 34 years. In 1952, she helped launch Oklahomaís first baccalaureate degree program in nursing. But her unique story began before that OBU milestone.
At 15, Proctor took on the responsibility of supporting her family after her father died. She graduated from Atoka High School in 1941 and attended the Wesley Hospitalís nursing program in Oklahoma City.
During those war years, the Red Cross requested that one third of seniors in nursing schools be sent to military hospitals. Proctor was sent to Balboa Park Hospital in San Diego, Calif. Upon completion of her duty, she was able to make a down payment on a house in Atoka that her mother lived in until her death.
Having completed the registered nurse program at Wesley Hospital, Proctor then earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and later earned a masterís degree at the University of Chicago.
In 1951, she began work at Tinker Air Force Base, where she would serve for 11 years, as the only female in the nationís Air Force Reserves. She was honorably discharged with the rank of major. That role overlapped her involvement with OBUís nursing program.
Proctor was inducted into the Atoka Alumni Association Hall of Fame by her friend and former OBU nursing student Rosemary Blankenship Atkins, a 1954 Atoka graduate. Atkins graduated from OBU in 1958, in the third class of graduates from the universityís nursing degree program.