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Family Nominates Hammond for CO Hall of Fame

Zipporah Parks Hammond (1924-2011), BS '46, has been nominated for induction to the Colorado Hall of Fame three times.


Zipporah Hammond

​"We were unfamiliar with the Hall until after our mother passed away in the summer of 2011. A good friend contacted me to express their condolences upon her passing and described how amazing women like Zipporah so often get overlooked for their accomplishments because of their quiet demeanor. That conversation inspired me to write and assemble the first nomination for Zipporah," said Steve Hammond, Zipporah's son. 

Steve's brother, Darrell Hammond, described their mother as a quiet hero who represented the "backbone of our country" and who "would be embarrassed [at the induction nomination] and wondering 'Why in the world are you doing this?'" 

Despite Zipporah's reticent nature and innate humility, her family continues the pursuit of her induction to honor her trailblazing career and selfless work. Zipporah was the CU College of Nursing's first African-American graduate, overcoming the oppressive restrictions that kept black women of her era from pursuing higher education. 

After earning her nursing degree, Zipporah worked in the operating room at Colorado General Hospital. She was recruited to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to become chief surgical nurse at John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital, where she treated polio patients in the Infantile Paralysis Unit. 

While in Alabama, Zipporah contracted tuberculosis. Her nursing career halted and she returned to Colorado to spend several months hospitalized. It was during her hospitalization at National Jewish Hospital in Denver that she met her husband, Sheldon Leroy Hammond. 

Barred from returning to her nursing career by her compromised health, she continued to work in the health care industry as a medical records librarian, and she served in leadership positions in this field at two Colorado hospitals. 

"Zipporah lived her life in a way that exemplifies the empathy and passion that nurses and medical professionals bring to their work today. She also believed in volunteerism and philanthropy. She helped train medical interns and contributed her time and financial resources to organizations and causes intended to improve the human condition," Steve said. "The CU College of Nursing is preparing women and men to serve society and provide medical care for those in need." 

One of those women is Katie Kerski, current recipient of the Zipporah Parks Hammond Endowed Scholarship: "Zipporah sounded like quite a force with a huge heart and passionate for helping others. I only wish I could have had the opportunity to meet her." 

Zipporah was recognized as a Living Legend in 2009 and she received the CON's first Pathfinders Award, the College's highest alumni award, posthumously in 2012. 

Steve plans to submit another nomination in summer 2017. He suggested that this fourth nomination is more likely to become an induction with the help of Zipporah's fellow CON alumni: "I believe the best way for nursing alumni and others to support and contribute to this effort would be to offer compelling personal views that highlight the value and impact of Zipporah’s accomplishments to Colorado, the nursing profession, and society. The Hall does not accept testimonials on behalf of a nominee. That certainly does not mean testimonials are not important. To the contrary, I believe they are extremely powerful and important. But the sentiment of individual testimonials needs to be cited and worked in to the fabric of the nomination in such a way to enhance it and make it more compelling for the selection committee."

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Connections