The Swain Families
The Swain brothers and their wives visit campus and meet with the Swain Department of Nursing's inaugural class. The department was established through the generosity of a gift from the Swain family, which has been a part of The Citadel for decades. The gift was initiated by brothers David C. Swain, Jr., Citadel Class of 1980, and his wife Mary, as well as Dr. Christopher C. Swain, Citadel Class of 1981, and his wife Debora.
The Citadel has established a new nursing program after receiving a seven-figure donation inspired by the lifelong nursing legacy of Sarasota’s Ursula Sellitti.
Sellitti retired from Sarasota Memorial Hospital in 2005 after more than 25 years as an operating room nurse and clinical coordinator.
The donation came from brothers Dr. Chris Swain, Citadel class of 1981, his wife, Debbie (Sellitti) Swain, as well as David Swain, Citadel class of 1980, and his wife, Mary Swain.
Both brothers married nurses.
“My mother, Ursula Sellitti (pictured above in 1956), is a highly skilled, compassionate and committed nurse. She inspired me to become a nurse,” said Debbie Swain. “Her mom came from Ireland as an immigrant. She was a nurse. Her sister was a nurse. I became a nurse. We have a lot of nurses in the family.”
Ursula Sellitti first started nursing in New York, and moved to Sarasota in 1977 and started working at Sarasota Memorial, her daughter said. She worked well into her 70s and now lives in Village Walk.
“If you know OR nurses, they’re pretty tough, pretty strong-willed,” Debbie Swain said. “She did open heart surgeries, had a great bedside manner, and took care of the whole family — making sure everyone was comfortable.”
Chris Swain worked with his mother-in-law while he practiced at SMH.
He described her as “the most sought-after OR nurse.”
“She was the one you’d go to in order to get the job done,” Swain said. “She always had the most efficient operating room. A lot of surgeons would seek her out in advance.”
The Swains said Ursula doesn’t yet know all the details of the donation made in her honor.
“When it comes out in the paper it will be a great surprise for her,” they said. “It coincides with her 80th birthday.”
Chris and David Swain founded the Ob Hospitalist Group in 2006, which has hundreds of locations in 27 states. Their goal was to elevate women’s health care by providing quality medical care to expectant mothers. More than a decade later, their group is the nation’s largest dedicated OB/GYN hospital provider, partnering with more than 450 board-certified physicians nationwide.
The Citadel’s new nursing program is expected to eventually include 96 nursing cadets and students through the combination of the evening program and daytime cadet program.
“The Swain Department of Nursing will help offset the projected need for nurses in the Lowcountry, the state, and especially in the United States military through a traditional classroom and lab-based nursing education curriculum,” said Connie Book, the Citadel’s provost and dean of the college in a statement. “The evening program will serve Veterans and others who work during the day as well as students already holding an associate of science degree.
“Additionally, the college has seen strong interest in nursing from prospective cadets planning military careers through ROTC scholarships, which is why the full four-year cadet program is being offered beginning next fall,” Book said.
John Weinstein, interim dean for The Citadel School of Science and Mathematics, said in a statement that he expects the Citadel’s four-year ROTC based nursing program to become “a highly sought after offering with guaranteed employment for the ROTC graduate within the armed services nursing corps.”
“Whether studying in the evening or during the day, nursing students at The Citadel will abide by the college’s core values of honor, duty and respect to become highly qualified, compassionate nurses,” Weinstein said.
Dr. Swain attended the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and completed his OB/GYN residency training at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. He demonstrated a lifelong passion and commitment to improving women’s healthcare and safety including solo practice, group practice, public health, medical education and hospitalist services guiding the development and growth of OB Hospitalist Group from 2006-2017. With his brother David, Chris provided the resources to establish the Swain Nursing Department at The Citadel. Chris, and his wife Debora, also provided funds for revitalizing The Citadel Boating Center. In addition to the return of water sports to The Citadel campus, the Swain Boat Center will serve as an access point for biology and ecology-related field trips while enhancing the academic experience of biology professors and students whose scholarship and research contributes to natural resources conservation. Dr. Chris Swain and his wife have also provided a merit-based scholarship for students majoring in biology and chemistry.
Mr. David C. Swain, Jr. ‘80, Mathematics
Computer scientist, businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
Mr. Swain earned an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of South Carolina (1986). He served as Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of OB Hospitalist Group Inc. (OBHG) and Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2015. In this position, he oversaw all operations of the OB Hospitalist ensuring client hospitals received the highest quality of care from OBHG physicians and support staff. The OB Hospitalist Group has received awards and recognition for being among the 25 Fastest-Growing Companies in South Carolina (2012-2016), among the Best Places to Work in South Carolina (2013- 2015), and one of the 40 Best-performing Companies in South Carolina in 2014. Prior to joining OBHG, David served as president of two technology companies principally providing custom IT solutions for Cisco Systems and AT&T. David also served 10 years as a USAF officer where he was hardware chief for a $5.5B life-cycle technology upgrade implemented at USAF bases worldwide. With his brother Chris, David provided the resources to establish the Swain Nursing Department at The Citadel. Additionally, he has provided resources to support many other SSM activities.