Resident(s) of Berkshire County who is/are pursuing a degree of any kind in nursing at Berkshire Community College (BCC). Applications are invited from students who are graduating high school seniors or older.


Rhoda Goldenberg Rubin was born on May 29, 1933 in Brooklyn, NY. Following the death of her mother at the age of one, she and her brother moved to the Catskill Mountains to live in Ellenville, NY, with an aunt and uncle. After her aunt’s sudden death at the age of 29 (when Rhoda was only 9), they were sent to live with their grandparents on their farm. Rhoda always had a love for animals and cherished life on the farm. The death of her grandmother was a particularly difficult time for young Rhoda. In her autobiography written in 1949 at the age of 16, Rhoda wrote “Ever since I can remember there have been suffering and hardships in our family, and I have had many occasions to visit my relatives in the hospital. It seems that I was born with the desire to become a nurse.” She wanted to go to nursing school to fulfill her ambitions “to alleviate the suffering of humanity.”

In her elementary school years, Rhoda attended a one-room schoolhouse where at times she was the only one in her grade. She graduated from Ellenville High School in 1950 at the age of 16 and went on to fulfill her dream – she graduated in 1953 from Union University School of Nursing (Albany Medical Center) in Albany, NY. She moved to Pittsfield, Mass., in 1953 after marrying Jerrold Rubin. She worked as a registered nurse at the former Hillcrest Hospital for more than 30 years. Following her divorce, she worked full time for the Pittsfield Health Department as a school and public health nurse (for more than 28 years), while maintaining her position at the hospital working evenings. She was raising three children by herself and when asked how she managed to raise three children and maintain a household while working two jobs (and, at times, a third part time job), her response was always, “I did what I needed to do.” She was a remarkable woman with an intense sense of pride and fortitude. It was through her persistence and hard work that she provided for her children without outside assistance. Her children grew up with the basic necessities but one thing that was never lacking in their home was the love of their mother.

Rhoda spent her life helping others and had a special place in her heart for the less fortunate. She was awarded the Pittsfield Gazette’s Most Valuable Pittsfielder in 1993 and the Berkshire County Guidance Association Award for Contributions at Reid Middle School in 1990. She was also recognized by the Pittsfield Splendid 100 in 1986. Rhoda retired from the Pittsfield Health Department in 1995 but continued substituting in schools, assisting with flu clinics, visiting nursing homes with her beloved dog, Zippy, and volunteering with park gardening until the time of her death in 2004. Rhoda Rubin dedicated her life to her children and to the children and families in her community. She was a nurse in the true sense of the word and unselfishly gave of herself to virtually any person or animal in need.

As a legacy to their beloved mother, Debbie, Ron and Lane Rubin, along with contributions from her friends and relatives, established the Rhoda Rubin Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to assist single parents wanting to fulfill their dreams of becoming a nurse – to help others and to provide an especially meaningful means of supporting their families.

Apply for this scholarship using our common application by March 15.