Dorothy G. Biggar

Dorothy G. Biggar '73
2001 Award of Honor

Which direction should I take? This is a question that Dorothy Biggar, Class of 1973, struggled to consider. She did not know which major to select when she first registered for classes at ETSU. She could not leave the registration area until she picked a major, so she selected the bachelor of science in nursing. She thought she could always change it later. However, she did not change her major and has excelled in the field.

Biggar received her B.S. degree in 1973 and embarked on a journey to success. She was destined for a career in health care. Her father is a physician and her mother was a nurse and served on the ETSU faculty during the 1970s in the associate degree program. She left her hometown of Bristol, Va., looking for a job in an intensive care unit. Her search led her to Missouri.

Shortly after moving to St. Louis, Biggar found a staff nurse position in the respiratory intensive care unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She discovered she was one of only a few to hold a baccalaureate degree rather than a diploma. After dedicating five years to ICU, she was promoted to Director of Chest Therapy in the hospital's Respiratory Care Services division and was later named Respiratory Nurse Coordinator. In 1979, Biggar decided to further her education at St. Louis University and earned her M.S. degree in nursing. Through continued hard work in 1993, she was appointed the Supervisor of Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Today, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has one of the largest lung transplantation centers in the world. Biggar says her job has afforded her the opportunity to participate in new medical procedures in pulmonary rehabilitation that are not being performed across the country. The biggest highlight of her career has been to work with Dr. Joel Cooper, a surgeon who performed the first successful lung transplant procedure.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for the Washington University School of Medicine, which allows Biggar to work with students and medical residents daily. Even though she is not a full-time faculty member, her list of publications would lead one to think otherwise. Since 1993, she has authored and co-authored more than 19 book chapters and journals, appearing in such scholarly publications as Chest and American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In addition to spending time with her husband, Patrick, and her two children, Brian 14, and Hiliary, 12, Biggar managed to reach another level of success. She received her Adult Nurse Practitioner certificate from the Jewish College of Nursing and Allied Health in 2000.

Although Biggar was hesitant about her college major as a freshman, health care has led her to tremendous success. She continues to encourage other ETSU nursing students to work hard to attain their personal goals.