Geraldine Twine of Tampa has always been a nurse at heart, but after moving from Tallahassee to Tampa, that she learned there was no program in Tampa that allowed a black woman to become a certified nurse. As a young wife and mother in the segregated south of the 1960s, her skin color determined where she could live, work, go to school, and even which hospitals would treat her. Those obstacles only energized Twine. She organized a carpool with three other women, and they traveled in the early morning hours to Gibbs Community College in St. Petersburg. After graduating and passing the boards to become an LPN, Twine started her first nursing position in1961 at Clara Frye Memorial Hospital. She was also busy making history, becoming the first black nurse to move from Clara Frye to Tampa General Hospital. She started a two-year nursing program at Hillsborough Community College and graduated in the inaugural class as an RN, just at about the time new standards required RN’s to complete a bachelor’s degree. USF opened its nursing program in 1973 and Twine was one of the first in line. She graduated with a BSN in 1978. She earned two more degrees from USF – a master’s in Nursing and a master’s in Education – all while working and raising her three children. Now a retired ARNP, Twine’s legacy of empowerment lives on through the Geraldine Twine Endowed Scholarship, providing financial support to full-time undergraduate students at the Tampa campus studying within USF Health.

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