The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Doctoral Study Lounge in the College of Nursing’s Procter Hall celebrated both a new collaborative study space and the legacy of former PhD Director Susan Elek, PhD. More than 50 students, faculty, staff and friends of the college joined the Sept. 26 celebration, led by current director Donna Shambley-Ebron, PhD.
For many in the audience, Elek encouraged, mentored and served as a role model, but she was present only in memory—she lost her battle with breast cancer in 2010. Her husband, daughter and sister accepted, in her honor, a plaque that will be displayed in the study space.
The plaque reads: "This room is dedicated in loving memory of Susan Elek, PhD, RN, Director, PhD program, 2005 – 2010. Dr. Elek provided dedicated and committed leadership to the PhD program to help fulfill the College’s mission ‘developing nurse leaders to generate, explore, and apply nursing knowledge for evolving health care environments’ and to move us forward to our vision of ‘transforming health care through innovative education and research’. Her contributions to the program are gratefully acknowledged and remembered.”
Robin Osterman, PhD, alumnus and current faculty member, shared her memories of Elek: "She had always impressed me with her keenness of thought, intellect and wit from the beginning. But it is her indelible spirit that I will always remember. She taught me life lessons that will be with me the rest of my life—first to embrace life with open arms, second to focus on what is really important and last but not least to persevere despite the odds.”
The PhD in Nursing Research was first offered by the college in 1990. In 2010, the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) was added to the college’s doctoral offerings. Elek led the PhD program from 2005-2010.
The incentive for a dedicated space was led by PhD student Kate York and included several students who worked with faculty and staff to decorate and create a space conducive to collaboration and learning.
*Information provided by Sarah Ehrnschwender