It’s hard to believe 2020 has settled in. I’m sure you are as excited as I am to discover what is planned for our College of Nursing this year. As you read about in this issue, in February the college hosted the Dorothy M. Smith Nursing Leadership Conference and the Special Guests and Leadership Awards Dinner. The conference this year was record-breaking with more than 500 registrants. I was proud to see five Gator Nursing alumni recognized with leadership awards, including two Alumni Council members: Rodney G.B. Clements (BSN 1996) and Gloria Pickar (BSN 1968). Congratulations to all of the recipients.
We finished the month of February with a successful showing of support for Gator Nation Giving Day. On Feb. 20, more than 287 individuals made gifts totaling $119,254 to the College of Nursing. We thank all who participated. A special thank you to Susan McLean (BSN 1967, MSN 1977) and Gloria Pickar, who pledged $5,000 each and challenged all alumni and friends to give on Giving Day. I am thankful and proud of all the wonderful Gator Nurses who took time to thank the College of Nursing by contributing financially.
Gator Nursing students can look forward to learning in a new state-of-the-art Innovation and Learning Laboratory later this year. Construction began in March, and I am looking forward to all the details in the coming months. The college has also continued to add new faculty in order to offer students the opportunity to learn from an inspirational group of nursing leaders. Their wisdom and insights will help graduates learn what it will take for them to make a significant impact to improve health care upon graduation.
As president of the Alumni Council, I am proud to be associated with a group that is made up of fellow UF nursing graduates who strive to stay connected and support UF, each other, current students and the college. As we volunteer, mentor and donate our time and resources, we are rewarded by helping the future nurses who will provide care for our families and communities in the years ahead. Our commitment to the College of Nursing does not end when we walk across the stage at graduation. Each chapter of life offers new opportunities to support and advance Gator Nursing. It is no surprise that for the 18th year in a row, Americans have ranked nursing as the highest profession for honesty and ethics. We will always be proud to say we are Gator Nurses.
I encourage all graduates to get involved with our alumni activities in any way that is meaningful to you. I hope to see many of you Sept. 12 for the college’s “Year of the Nurse” alumni reunion in Gainesville. Stay healthy and please know how important you are to the College of Nursing. My sincere thanks for your commitment to care, lead and inspire every day!