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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

College of Health Sciences

History of the University of Wyoming School of Nursing

East Health Sciences Center

Brief History of the School of Nursing 1951-2001

Amelia Leino was asked by the Board of Trustees to establish a school of nursing at the University of Wyoming in 1950. The legislation for establishing the school had been instigated by Mr. Rudolph Anselmi of Rock Springs, Wyoming. A baccalaureate program of nursing was visionary, as most nurses were being trained in hospitals at that time. Leino succeeded in having the program ready for the first students to be admitted in 1951. The first class attended summers in order to graduate by 1954. The school has been located in the Arts and Sciences Building, the old Fieldhouse, the old tower of the Student Union, and then in 1960 moved into its own building, shared with Student Health. It was also a department, a college and now a school within the College of Health Sciences. Leino, Gertrude Gould, and Dorothy Tupper were the first faculty. Gradually, as the number of students increased, so did the number of faculty. An attempt to meet the needs of the state was always paramount, as branches of the program were in Sheridan and Casper. Gradually, education became feasible through the use of technology, such as compressed video and Internet. Today the School of Nursing has students on campus and around the world. It serves those entering nursing at the basic level; those who have previous bachelor’s degrees and are changing career paths; nurses who want to earn a baccalaureate degree; nurses who want to become a nurse educator; and now for those nurses who would like to work toward the new standard in advanced practice nursing education, we provide the DNP program – doctor of nursing practice – offering family nurse practitioner or
psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner tracks.

School Renamed "Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing"

Ralph R.

Ralph R. "Roy" Whitney, Jr.

The School of Nursing was renamed to "Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing" in 2003 as a result of Roy Whitney's three million dollar gift to the university, made as a birthday gift to Fay from her husband. The funds were used to help in the renovation of the Old Biochemistry Building for the College of Health Sciences. The renovated building, now named "Health Sciences Center" is home to nursing and other college programs and divisions except the Division of Kinesiology and Health, which remains in the expanded and remodeled Corbett Building.

Fay W. Whitney

Fay W. Whitney, PhD, RN, FAAN

Fay Whitney's journey to Wyoming began in 1992 when her husband decided that life on a ranch would be an adventure. The stipulation that Fay placed on this dream was that the ranch had to be close enough to a university so she could continue her career. Her nursing career started in 1961 when she graduated from the University of Rochester with her Bachelor of Science Degree. A master's degree in nursing was earned from Syracuse University in 1974, a certificate as a nurse practitioner from Brigham Young University in 1974, a master's degree in public health from Syracuse University in 1982,and a PhD from Syracuse University in 1983 in public administration. Whitney was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania from 1983-85. Her career has centered around clinical practice and teaching. In these roles she has received numerous awards for excellence in nursing and leadership. Whitney has held many offices in national organizations and started the Whitney Wellness Center in Laramie. She likes to see progress for the profession and tries to make that happen through her service on statewide committees, such as the Wyoming Governor's Steering Committee on Telemedicine, the Wyoming Governor's Advisory Council on Aging, and the Wyoming Higher Education Assistance Authority. She has been an active researcher, having received more than one million dollars in research grants, edited two books, published 42 refereed articles, and presented internationally and nationally at 72 meetings.

For additional information about Dr. Whitney, please visit her faculty page on our Web site by clicking this link: Fay Whitney - More Information

Deans of the School of Nursing

Amelia Leino

Amelia Leino, RN, BS, MS, EdD

Founding Dean of the School of Nursing
University of Wyoming

Amelia Leino passed away in 1985.


Amelia Leino, a Wyoming native, having been born in Three Town, Wyoming, grew up in Hanna, Wyoming, and graduated from high school there where she was a star basketball player. After completing high school, Leino took a train to Chicago and enrolled in the nursing program at Cook County Hospital. After receiving her diploma in 1934, Leino became a teacher at Cook County Hospital. When the war broke out in 1942, Leino joined the US Army Nurse Corps. Immediately after the war, she started school at the University of Washington. After one semester there, she moved to New York and completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at Columbia University Teachers College. The head of the department of nursing at Columbia told Leino that the University of Wyoming was looking for a dean to establish a school of nursing. Leino was hired in 1951, becoming the first woman dean at the University of Wyoming. She later returned to Columbia to complete her Doctorate of Education, which was awarded in August 1955.

Leino developed the baccalaureate program of nursing at the university and was influential in the development of nursing education programs across the country. At one time, graduates of the program had the highest scores on the national licensing exam in the nation. She taught entering students, portrayed her military background to the students, and made an impression on students that was never forgotten.

Leino remained dean of the School of Nursing until 1968, at which time she retired. Her foresight led to the establishment of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau at the University of Wyoming. She was a well-known speaker in Wyoming and Colorado and was one of the first six nurses designated as Western Council of Higher Education in Nursing emeriti. She died in 1985.

Dorothy Tupper

Dorothy Tupper, RN, BS, MS
1968 - 1973

Dorothy Tupper passed away in 1994.


Dorothy Tupper was the first full-time faculty member employed for teaching nursing at the University of Wyoming, starting in March of 1952. In September 1968, she became acting dean, staying in that capacity until February 1971, when she was made dean. Tupper made it clear that administration was not her first love, and she resigned the position of dean in 1973 and returned to full time teaching.

St. Catherine's Hospital School of Nursing in Omaha, Nebraska, provided Tupper's basic education. She earned a BS from the University of Wyoming in Zoology and another BS in education from the University of Minnesota. Her master's degree was from Teacher's College Columbia University.

Tupper was a strong student advocate. She taught fundamentals of nursing, medical-surgical nursing, and advised students through the program. Her commitment to caring, communication, and compassion was instilled in each student with whom she had contact. Many students role modeled their development as a nurse after Tupper. She was the epitome of what a nurse should be.

The state relied on Tupper's leadership. She was active in all of the nursing organizations and served on the Wyoming State Board of Nursing for five years. She was known as the expert in disaster nursing and was the instructor for the Wyoming Civil Defense Agency. Her first love was working with students and developing their passion for nursing. Tupper died in 1994.

Marion Schrum

Marion Schrum, EdD, RN
1973 - 1980

Marion Schrum passed away in 2007.


Marion Schrum received her diploma in nursing from Mt. St. Clare Junior college in Clinton, Iowa; earned a BSNE at St. Louis University School of Nursing; a MSNE from Catholic University of America, and an EdD from Stanford University. Her career was devoted to nursing education, moving to her first chair position only seven years after receiving her diploma. She remained in leadership positions in schools of nursing from that point. Schrum came to the University of Wyoming from San Francisco State University. While at the University of Wyoming, she supported the development of the first graduate program in rural family health for implementation by the School of Nursing. She was instrumental in getting the legislature to fund the program. She also wrote a grant to initiate an extended baccalaureate program for nurses in Wyoming. This grant provided a director and four faculty across the state. Students took prerequisites at community colleges and met the nursing requirements under the direction of the faculty. She was also instrumental in helping the Wyoming Commission for Nursing and Nursing Education being funded to recruit Native American students to Wyoming nursing schools. Schrum went to the University of Nevada, Reno, after resigning from the University of Wyoming. We have received news that Marion Schrum passed away in February of 2007.

Beveryl Taheri-Kennedy

Beverly Taheri-Kennedy, PhD, RN
Interim Dean, December 1980 - July 1981


Beverly Taheri-Kennedy was recruited to the School of Nursing in 1979 to provide leadership in development, implementation and maintenance of a new graduate program in rural health nursing. Her preparation for this position was a diploma in nursing from Roger Williams General Hospital School of Nursing, a BSN from Case-Western Reserve University, a MA in Sociology from Case-Western, and a PhD in Rural Sociology from Pennsylvania State University. The majority of Kennedy's time was spent in teaching at the graduate level and in research related to health and health care in rural cultures. Kennedy spent time as a visiting assistant professor in Iran and in Jordan prior to coming to the university, and her interest in international nursing continued throughout her tenure at the University of Wyoming School of Nursing. She was chair of the faculty senate 1989-90 and was known on campus for her interest in interdisciplinary program development. She served on the graduate faculty of the School of Nursing with a focus in community health and health promotion.

Susan Leddy

Susan Leddy, PhD, RN
1981 - July 1984

Susan Leddy passed away in 2007.


Susan Leddy was won over to Wyoming after attending an American Association of Colleges of Nursing Dean's meeting in Jackson, Wyoming. Her love of the Tetons enticed her to apply for a position in the School of Nursing. Her education and previous work experience had been in the east. She graduated from Skidmore College, earned her MS from Boston University, and a PhD from New York University. She was dean of the School of Nursing from 1981 through 1984. She then became dean of the College of Health Sciences, a position she held from 1984-1986. Her book Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing was in the fifth edition. She was in the process of completing two more books. Holistic Health Promotion: Theory and Research and Knowledge Development for Nursing Science. Susan held offices in the National League for Nursing and was on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing research committee. She left Wyoming to return to the east where she became dean at the Widener School of Nursing. She was a part-time professor at Widener and lived in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Dr. Leddy died in 2007.

Elizabeth Nichols

Elizabeth Nichols, DNS, RN, FAAN
1985 - July 1991


Elizabeth Nichols received her BS in Nursing, her MS and a Doctorate of Nursing Science from San Francisco State College. She came to the University of Wyoming after serving as chairperson of the Department of Nursing at Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho. She later earned a MA in political science. Her interests were in gerontological nursing, and that is where she did her research and writing. She was inducted as a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America in 1981 and into the American Academy of Nursing in 1982. While in Wyoming, she was elected chair of the Western Institute of Nursing. Elizabeth spent 1990-1991 at the University of Maine as American Council on Education fellow. In 1991 she was appointed as an assistant to the president and resigned her position in 1995 to assume the position of dean of the College of Nursing at the University of North Dakota. In 2005, she left North Dakota to become the dean at Montana State University.

Marcia Dale

Marcia L. Dale, EdD, RN, FAAN
1991 - 2003

Marcia Dale passed away in 2012.


Marcia Dale graduated from the BS program, left Wyoming to pursue a master's degree at the University of Washington, and then completed her EdD at the University of Northern Colorado in 1981. She was on the School of Nursing faculty from 1961 to 1991 as a professor; she became familiarized to the role of dean by serving as associate dean in the school from 1983-85 and then again from 1990-91. It was at that point that she became dean of the school. Dale has served as president of every professional nursing organization in Wyoming and she was on the Wyoming State Board of Nursing for seven years, three years as president. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 1993, the third nurse from Wyoming to receive this honor. Dale passed away in August of 2012. Her interest was in the history of nursing in Wyoming and at the university.

Highlights of Dale's career:
  • Continually updated the baccalaureate and master's curricula to address changes in the health care system

  • Introduced Betty Newman's conceptual framework of Total Person for curriculum organization

  • Received a grant with Beverly McDermott for summer workshop for seniors 65 of age and older

  • Brought the school through three successful national accreditation periods

  • Established a partnership with Ivinson Memorial Hospital for a summer externship

  • Planned and implemented the first transitional practicum using preceptors

  • Served on the Wyoming State Board of Nursing for seven years

  • Spearheaded development of expanded outreach programs through online teaching

  • Helped secure a $64,000 grant to develop online instruction

  • Initiated the online R.N./B.S.N. and M.S. Nurse Education degree programs

  • Oversaw the recruitment of top faculty and academic professionals

  • Enjoyed the reception of high marks for the School of Nursing from the Wyoming State Board of Nursing

  • Participated in the celebration of 50 successful years of the School of Nursing

  • Initiated a pilot group of eight additional B.S.N. students to address the nursing shortage

  • Introduced the Fish Philosophy to improve morale and communications

  • Received federal traineeship funding for graduate students yearly

  • Established a national Peer Group of 10 deans

  • Served as the first site visitor chairman for Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

For more information about Dr. Dale, please visit her faculty page on our Web site by clicking the following link: Marcia Dale - More Information.

Pamela Clarke

Pamela N. Clarke, RN; MPH, PhD; FAAN
2003 - 2007


Pamela Clarke served as Dean of the School of Nursing from 2003-2007. She has over 10 years of academic administration and more than 30 years as an educator. She has a national reputation in public health and brings experience in rural distance education for graduate and undergraduate programs. Dr. Clarke has a commitment to inter-professional practice, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is involved in innovative preventive family health care in Wyoming and works with community agencies to develop new models of care.

Her passion is in public health, and her background and experience arena drives her perspective for nursing and community health. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Program, allowing her the opportunity to expand and refine her leadership and health policy skills. She is past president of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, and currently serves as a mentor dean with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She brings wide-reaching experience as an innovative administrator; as a local, state, regional and national leader; as a respected teacher and colleague; as an enthusiastic supporter of the need for practice-based research and theory; and as an avid advocate for community and public health care.

For more information about Dr. Clarke, please visit her faculty page on our Web site by clicking the following link: Pamela Clarke - More Information

Mary Burman

Mary E. Burman, Dean & Professor


Mary E. Burman, Professor of Nursing, has been named Dean of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing (SON). After receiving her doctoral degree in nursing science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Burman joined the faculty of the SON in 1992. She brings a wealth of administrative experience to her new position, having served as coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program from 1998-2006, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Health Sciences from 2001-July 2007, and acting dean of the college for the 2006 fall semester. Burman was instrumental in founding Laramie's Downtown Clinic, currently serves on the board of directors, and is one of the facility's volunteer family nurse practitioners. She has written scores of articles focusing principally on chronic illness and advanced practice nursing published in national journals such as the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner, Public Health Nursing, and the Journal of Nursing Education. She serves on the editorial boards of several publications and was recently named one of only 20 Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows for 2007-2010, a prestigious advanced leadership program for nurses in senior executive roles aspiring to lead and shape the future of the US health care system.

For more information about Dr. Burman, please visit her faculty page on our Web site by clicking the following link: Burman - more information

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