Martha Raile Alligood grew up in McConnelsville, Ohio, where she was an active part of Main Street Church of Christ. She earned a nursing diploma from the Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Zanesville, Ohio and was inspired by her minister, Charles Wingfield, to consider mission work. She came to Johnson with the intent of staying for only a year, but a visiting missionary encouraged her to complete the undergraduate degree before entering the mission field.
Martha enjoyed her Johnson experience. She participated in tour choir and sang in a trio. She also established a relationship with Charlie (’66) Alligood, but their relationship did not survive graduation and Martha’s passion to go to Africa as a missionary nurse. She left for Zimbabwe in 1967 and worked in the hospital and taught nursing in the school at Mashoko Christian Hospital. Her teaching at the hospital sparked Martha’s interest in nursing education.
Martha returned to the United States in 1970 and began teaching missions at Johnson at the invitation of David Eubanks, then the president. While at Johnson, Martha also worked at a local hospital and investigated the possibility of completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She earned the B.S. in Nursing from the University of Virginia in 1973. She went on to earn a master’s degree in nursing from Ohio State in 1976 and a doctoral degree in nursing from New York University in 1979.
Her academic experience and high level of achievement opened many doors for Martha in service to a variety of hospitals and universities throughout the eastern United States. She helped Ohio University earn accreditation in their school of nursing; the school’s application for accreditation was approved with no recommendations, which is rare!
Charlie Alligood and Martha reconnected and redeveloped their relationship. They married in 1984 and celebrated 38 years together before Charlie’s passing in 2002. Throughout their married life, Martha found plenty of opportunities to help schools with their nursing programs, either as a consultant or as a teacher. A few of these opportunities came after Dr. Gary (’64) Weedman requested Martha’s help with projects at Milligan University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Johnson. Gary asked Martha to join the Board of Trustees to bring a strong academic voice to this body of leadership. She joined the Board in 2010 and her experience played a significant and influential role in the development of Johnson’s unique 2+2 program in Pre-Nursing/Nursing.
Listen to more of Martha’s story on Johnson University’s “Sojournal” alumni podcast.