50th Anniversary Celebration
College of Nursing - March 26, 2011

The 50th Anniversary Celebration was a great success!

Below is a sampling of pictures from the event.

To see more pictures from the event click here.
To watch the anniversary video click here.

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Shining Moment for Nursing Education at Upstate

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, RN, with first College of Nursing Dean, 
M. Janice Nelson, EdD, RN, greeted alumni at the 50th Celebration Awards Dinner.

“This is a shining moment for College of Nursing (CON) alumni and students,” CON’s Barbara Black (ANP ‘98) said, as 135 arrived March 26th to attend the 50th Celebration of Nursing Education at Upstate.  Nurse alumni came from all over the region and beyond to reunite with friends, faculty and fond remembrances. 

“It was the event of the season!” commented Nursing Dean, Elvira Szigeti, PhD, RN.  “Alumni were thrilled to be here and had plenty of opportunities to interact. It was wonderful for the College and I hope we can plan more events like this to bring us together in the future!”

“It was a great tribute to our past, present and future!” said Nursing Alumni Association President Barbara Kane (BS ‘98/MS ’99). “Catching up with classmates and professors, looking through yearbooks and viewing the fantastic retrospective video, you could see everyone was touched in some way. Events, such as tours of the Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Setnor Academic Building and lunch at the Institute of Human Performance, were reminders of how far nursing and the College have advanced over the past 50 years.  I want to thank everyone who worked so diligently to bring this memorable event together!” 

Nurse educator and 1976 PNP graduate, Catherine (Cate) Critz, PhD, CPNP, APRN (2nd left) traveled all the way from Kaneohe, Hawaii to attend. “Fifty years is quite a landmark and since the program launched quite a career for me, I thought it was important to attend. My cherished friend and colleague Maureen O’Hara (PNP ’97) (far left) was also being honored, another important reason I wanted to come.” Joining in the fun are O’Hara’s colleagues, Nancy Mitchell, CPNP, and Victoria Meguid, MD, of the Upstate University’s Pediatric and Adolescent Center.

First CON Dean, Janice Nelson, EdD, RN, catches up with first 
Nursing Alumni Association President, Kathy Harmand, BS/MS ’89.



Alums, students and colleagues connect during a fabulous dinner event.

50th Anniversary Awards - Excellence in Nursing
Award for Distinction in Community Service

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Maureen  O’Hara, RNC, MS, PNP 1997
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Maureen received her registered nurse diploma from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, a BS from SUNY Institute of Technology,  a Master’s degree as a pediatric CNS from Syracuse University, and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner certificate from Upstate Medical University College of Nursing’s Post Master’s Certificate Program.  Her nursing career has focused on improving circumstances for abused and neglected children.  She practices at the Pediatric and Adolescent Center at Upstate Medical University as both a CNS and an NP.  She coordinates health care services for abused children and those in foster care, teaches the medical and nursing staff, and acts as a consultant and researcher in the area of child development.

Award for Distinction in Nursing Practice

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Patricia L. Donnelly, MS, PNP 1997
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Pat received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Niagara University, a Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the Community General Hospital Nurse Practitioner Program and her Master of Science from Upstate Medical University in 1997, where she received the Outstanding Student Award and the Nancy A. Roman Memorial Award. For over 20 years, Pat has been at the forefront of practice as a FNP and recognized by others for her excellence in clinical practice.   In 2001, she opened her own private practice with partner, Mary Oot:  Donnelly and Oot. Family Nurse Practitioners, LLC.  It was the first of its kind in central New York, and became one of the few successful independent nurse practitioner practices in New York State.  Pat has been a strong role model and a tireless advocate for nurse practitioners.

Award for Distinction in Nursing Education

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Carol Anne Kozik, MS, CNS, FNP 1996
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Carol Anne received a Registered Nurse diploma from Crouse Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Regents College, a Master of Science from Upstate Medical University, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Nursing Informatics from Duke University and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Science from Sage College.  She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Upstate Medical University College of Nursing. In addition to her current faculty position, Carol Anne coordinates clinical informatics in acute, critical and emergency care at Cortland Regional Medical Center.  Carol Anne has always included being an educator as central to her nursing practice.  She is the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Nursing at Upstate, an award given by selection of the students to a faculty member who demonstrates professional role modeling, student advocacy, excellence in teaching, and guidance in academic and career endeavors.

Award for Distinction in Nursing Leadership

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Connie Jastremski, RN, MS, MBA, ANP-BC 1998
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Connie received her registered nurse diploma at Presbyterian University Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Maryland, a Masters in Business Administration from Syracuse University, and a Post Master’s Certificate as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from Upstate Medical University.  Connie is chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services at Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown, NY.  Connie is viewed as an innovative leader who works tirelessly to enhance nursing practice and patient care. In 2010, she was awarded the Nursing Service Administration Award by the New York State Nurses Association. Her clinical practice has focused on neurotrauma and critical care nursing and, in 2009, she was honored by the University of Maryland Medical Center for her work in the field of trauma nursing and for having helped to establish the first master's degree program in trauma nursing at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Award for Outstanding Alumni

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Bonnie Miner, RN, MS, CNS 1994, 1996, 2002
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Bonnie began her nursing career as a licensed practical nurse.   She went on to become an RN and received her BS and MS in nursing and a Post Masters Certificate in Nursing Education from Upstate Medical University.  She is currently a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Nursing Quality and Patient Safety and the Pediatric Patient Safety Officer at Upstate University Hospital, where she is an integral part of the pediatric services provided at Golisano Children’s Hospital. She also is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Upstate’s College of Nursing.  Bonnie has been active in the alumni association since she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1994. She has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1997 and an officer since 1999, including president from 2002 – 2010.  In 2008, the alumni association awarded her with the Nursing Silver Legacy Award to honor her work on behalf of the association.

Award for Distinction in Regional Support of Nursing
Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Paul Lilly of Wegmans
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Wegmans’ generous contributions in the areas of education and health provide support for nursing education and nursing practice.

Award for Distinction in Local Support of Nursing
Recipients: Indi Shelby and KeyBank

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Indi L. Shelby RN, BSN, MS
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Indi Shelby earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing from Rutgers University. She arrived at the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York, Inc. over 24 years ago as Director of Patient Services.  Over the past eight years, she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of VNA Systems, Inc., the parent of sister agencies, Independent Health Care Services, Inc., the VNA Foundation of Central New York, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York, Inc., as well as affiliate agency, CCH Home Care and Palliative Services, Inc.

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Stephen Fournier of KeyBank
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

KeyBank’s generous contributions to the Upstate Medical University Campus provide support for nursing education and nursing practice.

Honorary Alumni/Alumnus Award 

The Honorary Alumni Award is given to an individual who is not an alumna/alumnus of the College of Nursing but who has demonstrated distinguished service and support to the College’s mission.

Fay Whitney

Dr. Fay Whitney received a Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Brigham Young University, a BSN from the University of Rochester, and a Master’s and PhD from Syracuse University. A native of Syracuse, Fay and her husband relocated to Laramie, Wyoming in 1992.  She currently practices part time as an adult nurse practitioner at the Whitney Health and Wellness Center and is Professor Emeritus in the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming.
She is known for being a pioneer in the practice and education of nurse practitioners in the United States.  After receiving her NP certificate from Brigham Young in 1974 and while still living in Syracuse, Faye worked as a nurse practitioner at University Hospital.  She was instrumental in the establishment and implementation of Upstate’s first Adult Health Nurse Practitioner program and, in 1976, she was named an Associate Professor and continued to serve as Co-Director through 1983 when the program closed.  During that time, the program graduated more than 300 nurse practitioners. She went on to distinguish herself as an educator of nurse practitioners at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Dean Elvira Szigeti, PhD, award recipient Nancy Lyon
and Upstate President David R. Smith, MD

Nancy served as the Assistant to the Dean of the College of Nursing for 18 years, from 1989 through 2007.  The College went through many changes over the years, which included the start of separate BS and MS programs, the beginning of the Post Master Advanced Certificate programs, the addition of the nurse practitioner track, the re-establishment of the continuing education program, and the addition of many faculty and hundreds of students.  Nancy also assisted the Omicron Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau in the establishment of their chapter and in their activities.  In 2009, after 20 years of hard work and dedication to the nursing honor society, Nancy was made a member of this international nursing honor society.  She retired from her full-time position in 2007; however, she is still working with the College on a part-time basis, assisting with the undergraduate and continuing nursing education programs. 

In Memoriam Lifetime Achievement Awards

Bess Buser, MS, NP 1976
A 1976 graduate of Upstate Medical University’s first Nurse Practitioner program and founding faculty member of the College of Nursing, Bess was an indispensable advocate for nursing education and volunteerism. Her life’s work centered on the health and well being of children, with nearly 25 years as a school nurse. Throughout her career, Bess kept pace with the rush of knowledge the profession requires, advancing from her RN diploma in 1943 to achieve a master of health education in 1970.   After achieving her NP certificate, she became a faculty member for the pediatric nurse practitioner track.   Bess also was a devoted volunteer with the University Hospital Auxiliary. An alumni endowment in her name was established in 2007 by contributions from the Advocates for Upstate Medical University, fellow graduates from the College of Nursing, friends and family.

Sue Spaulding-Gehrke, PhD, NP 1978
Sue graduated from Upstate Medical University’s first Nurse Practitioner program in 1978 and is remembered at Upstate as an active alumna, serving on the Upstate Nursing Alumni Association board for five years, two as President, and one year as membership chair.  A voracious learner, a compassionate care giver, and a generous mentor, Sue last worked over 10 years as a nurse practitioner for the Finger Lakes Center for Living in Auburn, NY.  Her favorite part of the job was helping people.  She had said, “I find the most reward in helping people -- sitting down with the residents and spending time with them. I do end-of-life care and talk with them about the future as their health declines. My job is meeting the needs of the residents and in supporting their families.”  An alumni endowment was established in her name in 2009 through a bequest and gifts from friends and family to honor the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism Sue demonstrated in her life’s work. 

© 2016 The Upstate Foundation, Inc.