Mary Gage

Just Getting Started

40 years in the making. For Mary Gage ’19, her dream of becoming a nurse will finally become reality.

Mary grew up on a farm in Nichols, N.Y., and fell in love with gardening and cooking healthy foods. She pursued her love for health and nutrition when she enrolled at Cornell University in 1976.

“I liked helping people learn how to eat correctly,” said Mary. “Diet has a lot to do with how we function and our overall well-being. It’s very important.”

After a few years, Mary left Cornell, got married, and had a family. She had been working at a nursing home when her desire for a career in healthcare reignited.

“Being a nurse is my dream – a dream I should have stuck with 40 years ago,” said Mary. “I’ve always wanted to be able to help people.”

Mary left her job at the nursing home and enrolled in the SUNY Corning Community College nursing program. Her favorite part is being able to interact with patients in a hospital setting.

“I love clinical,” said Mary. “I like working with my patients, but I also enjoy being with the other nursing students. Everyone gets really close in 15 weeks and it makes us all better nurses.”

According to SUNY CCC nursing instructor Kate Larrabee, Mary’s dedication to the nursing profession is evident to her patients and classmates.

“Mary is full of compassion, and has the eagerness to touch and save lives,” said Kate. “She is a true example of life’s possibilities, putting her mind, heart, and soul into making her dreams a reality.”

For Mary, compassion, integrity, and having the ability to think outside the box are three of the most important qualities a nurse can possess.

“In order to advocate for your patients, you have to have integrity as a nurse,” she said. “Your patients need to know that you really care about them, and that you’re going to do your best.”

Mary has already accepted a nurse resident position at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. Eventually, Mary wants to work in community care as a public health nurse.

“You’re never too old, and you’re never too young to do something,” said Mary. “The only boundaries you have in life are the ones you put there yourself.”

Mary will cross the SUNY CCC stage in May at 61 years old.

“I’m just getting started,” said Mary.