Natividad Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Barbara Shipnuck Professional Center

  • March 2, 2023

Naming and Celebration Honors Former Monterey County Supervisor Barbara Shipnuck and Coincides with Women’s History Month

Natividad and Natividad Foundation hosted a celebration and ribbon cutting today for the Barbara Shipnuck Professional Center, newly named in honor of former Monterey County Supervisor Barbara Shipnuck. Shipnuck passed away on Jan. 6, 2022, after suffering a stroke. 

A groundbreaker in many ways, in 1978 Shipnuck became the first woman elected to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. She was re-elected three times and served until 1994. Shipnuck’s accomplishments have had a tremendous impact on Monterey County. When local leaders considered shuttering Natividad, she championed a multimillion-dollar bond measure to rehabilitate the facility and outfit it with modern equipment. She also engaged Wall Street in Certificates of Participation in 1993 and 1994 to secure hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for new county hospital buildings. Her legacy of fighting for health equity lives on daily as Natividad continues providing excellent health care services to everyone in Monterey County.

“Supervisor Shipnuck understood that the health and success of Natividad Medical Center were critical to making quality health care available for all Monterey County residents, regardless of their ability to pay. As many counties around the State were closing their county hospitals, Supervisor Shipnuck fought relentlessly to keep Natividad open,” said Natividad CEO Dr. Chad Harris.

“Supervisor Shipnuck’s dedication to serving and improving the health of women, children and families in Monterey County should be an inspiration to us all,” said Supervisor Wendy Root Askew. “I know it is to me and is a guiding light to my work as District 4 Supervisor for the County of Monterey. The resolution that the Board of Supervisors adopted by unanimously approving the naming of the Barbara Shipnuck Professional Center recognizes her profound, enduring, and extraordinary contribution to the health care of current and future generations of Monterey County residents.”

The Barbara Shipnuck Professional Center is now located on the Natividad campus in Salinas in building 400.

“Supervisor Shipnuck was the first and only female on the Board,” said Supervisor Mary Adams. “I like to say that she was the original glass ceiling breaker for the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Shipnuck would go on to be re-elected three times and served until the end of 1994 — and as an inspiration for future women leaders in Monterey County, including myself and my colleague Supervisor Wendy Root Askew.”

“Supervisor Shipnuck was instrumental in launching Natividad Foundation in 1988. As a nonprofit organization, Natividad Foundation was able to raise money for the hospital so it could remain open and provide excellent care to all,” said Natividad Foundation CEO and President Jennifer Williams. “This year, Natividad Foundation celebrates its 35th-anniversary thanks in large part to Barbara Shipnuck. We are deeply grateful for her impact on the hospital and Monterey County and the generosity and love demonstrated by those who knew her and her work.”

“What Barbara did not only in breaking the glass ceiling is that she changed the politics of county government. Our emphasis on the board was just land use and public works. Nobody cared about human services or social services. Departments weren’t known much about. She brought them up and made them into agenda items. She brought them up in the budgets. She changed the discussion. She changed the politics.” said Congressman Sam Farr. “Elections have consequences, and Barbara Shipnuck made Salinas a better city. She made the County of Monterey a better county.”

Hosted by Natividad CEO Dr. Harris and sponsored by Natividad Foundation, the event brought members from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, the Natividad Board of Trustees, and other dignitaries. Supervisor Wendy Root Askew, Supervisor Mary Adams and retired Congressman Sam Farr and Natividad President & CEO Jennifer Williams were speakers at the event. Members from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s and Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s teams presented a Congressional Declaration, while representatives from Senator Anna Caballero’s and Assemblymember Robert Rivas’s office presented a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Caballero, Rivas, Senator John Laird and Assemblymember Dawn Addis. Shipnuck’s family, friends and colleagues from across the nation attended while her son Alan Shipnuck, daughter Louisa Jones Shipnuck, friend Ann Hill and sister Diana Horowitz took the stage. The Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Chair Bill Hastie led the ribbon cutting.

The Barbara Shipnuck Professional Center’s signage and event were made possible by more than $35,000 in generous donations to Natividad Foundation. All donors attending the event received a coral pink orchid — Shipnuck’s favorite color — donated by Matsui Nursery.

Major Donors include:

  • Ann Hill
  • The James Irvine Foundation andJudge Lydia Villarreal
  • Louisa Shipnuck Jones
  • Sondra Rees
  • Susan J. West

Friends of Barbara Shipnuck include:

  • Anonymous (2)
  • Marjorie Austin
  • Harriet Diamond and Myron Kamisher
  • Marilyn Falik
  • Faith Feuerman
  • Susan Graham
  • Diana and Sheldon Horowitz
  • Susan Lee
  • Maria Osorio
  • Julie and Wayne Tucker
  • Nita Scott and Dan Tyler
  • Judy White
  • Jennifer Williams
  • Susan G. Zepeda