Top Priorities for the School of Nursing

  Make Your Gift Online

The overall nursing faculty shortage and, specifically, the shortage of nurse scientists, challenges us.

The national pool of faculty scholars is insufficient to match demand. Our faculty members are heavily recruited and candidates for our positions often accept another offer with a more attractive compensation package.

More than 20% of our full-time faculty will retire in the next five to seven years. As senior faculty members retire, we face gaps in faculty expertise.

Donor-endowed Distinguished Professorships as well as funds to support scholarly leaves for faculty, research endeavors, innovative teaching, international exchanges, and recognition for excellence, are urgently needed.

The Value of Faculty Support

Faculty members are among our most valued assets. When a donor chooses to endow a professorship, this represents one of the highest honors bestowed on a university, reflecting its reputation and prestige.

An endowed professorship enables us to attract and retain the very best nurse scientists and teachers because they know the funding is secure to support their crucial work. Endowed professorships hold a 10-year appointment that can be renewed. This endowment provides for a faculty member’s salary, benefits, and research support; honors past achievements; and offers encouragement to strive for continued health care discovery and breakthroughs that will benefit people in North Carolina and throughout our nation. In the next few years, more than 20% of our renowned faculty will retire. Endowed professorships are crucial for filling this gap.





Endowed Professorship $1,000,000

$50,000 annually


The School of Nursing, through the generosity of donors, supports five endowed professorships that were established through private gifts. More are critically needed.

The Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatric-Mental Health

The Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatric-Mental Health was established through a generous gift from Carol and Coleman Ross. Carol Ross is an advocate for the nursing profession and a strong supporter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. In 2003, Carol and her husband Coleman established the Eunice Morde Doty undergraduate nursing scholarship to honor Carol’s mother, who was also a nurse. Carol completed a term as an active member of the School of Nursing Foundation Board of Directors from 2005-2012. Read more here.

The Dr. Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Research

The Dr. Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Research was established in 1991 through a generous gift from Frances Hill Fox. In addition to her career as a physician, Dr. Fox served the School of Nursing for 38 years, first as a member of Elizabeth Scott Carrington’s Advisory Board to establish the School in 1950, and then as a charter director of the Foundation. The professorship recognizes and supports a doctorally-prepared nurse leader who is committed to continuing an active program of research, collaborating with colleagues, providing leadership to faculty and students in research development and scholarship, and participating in the School’s educational programs.

Kathleen Knafl, PhD, FAAN
Dr. Knafl is the current Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor. Through a series of qualitative studies, her program of research has focused on describing different patterns of family response to childhood chronic conditions (family management styles). She has been especially interested in exploring the interplay between how family members define and how they manage family life in the context of a child’s chronic condition. Understanding different patterns of family management is an essential first step in developing interventions that promote positive outcomes for families and their individual members. She collaborates with colleagues at University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University, in developing a valid and reliable measure of how families manage a child’s chronic condition, the Family Management Measure (FaMM). By measuring critical aspects of family management of a child’s chronic condition, FaMM will further our ability to generate knowledge of the family context of illness and foster the development of interventions that support optimal functioning and quality of life.

Molly (Mickey) Dougherty, who retired in 2004, was named the first Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor in 1996. Her teaching and research interests covered women’s health, aging, minority health issues and community-based nursing interventions. She continuously received federal grants for leading research on topics such as pelvic muscle function and management of urinary incontinence and prevention of diabetes. In the Rural Women’s Health Project, led by Dr. Dougherty, preventative healthcare strategies are developed and tested with older rural women. Professor Dougherty was a Visiting Fellow with the Royal College of Nursing in Oxford, England and the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her research projects made important contributions to the quality of nursing and healthcare in years to come. She serves as the Editor of Nursing Research, the premiere national nursing research journal. Before coming to Chapel Hill, Dr. Dougherty taught at the University of Florida College of Nursing for 23 years. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she holds bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees from the University of Florida.

The Sarah Frances Russell Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Systems

The Sarah Frances Russell Distinguished Professorship in Nursing Systems was established in 1996 through a gift from Carl Vernon Russell in honor of his wife who passed away in 1987. Sarah Frances Russell was a 1959 alumna of the School of Nursing’s master’s degree program. Her career included service in the US Army Nursing Corps, during which she achieved the rank of full colonel. After receiving her PhD in administration from Carolina, she served as a consultant with the National Board for Standards and Licensing for Nurses, during which she helped develop national standards for nursing supervisors and nursing administration. This chair helps the School of Nursing continue its national leadership role in studying patient safety and quality of care issues in the health care system.

Barbara Mark, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Mark is a national leader among researchers who are monitoring hospitals on key indicators of patient safety. She is currently funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to study the effect of changes in nurse staffing levels and hospital financial performance on quality of patient care. She is also funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research to examine how nursing organization in general hospitals affect patient and administrative outcomes. She came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in 2001 from Virginia Commonwealth University where she served for 20 years, most recently in a joint appointment of professor in their School of Nursing and the Department of Health Administration. While at VCU, Dr. Mark held administrative posts of assistant dean, director of the graduate program, and doctoral program director. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Mark earned the BSN at Skidmore College, the MSN at University of Washington, and the PhD from Case Western Reserve University.

The Helen Watkins and Thomas Leonard Umphlet Distinguished Professorship in Aging

The Helen Watkins and Thomas Leonard Umphlet Distinguished Professorship in Aging was established in 1999 through a generous gift from Mrs. Umphlet in honor of her late husband. Dr. Umphlet, known affectionately as “Dr. Tom” by those who worked closely with him during his 40-year career in internal medicine, held nurses in high esteem for their work to care for others. In seeking the best way to keep the memory of her husband alive, Mrs. Umphlet established an endowed professorship at the School of Nursing to honor and support the nurses who had been her husband’s valued colleagues. A fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Umphlet served as the chief of medical services and chairman of the executive council at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. Shortly before his death, he was recognized as the Rex Classic Distinguished Physician of Merit for his 10 years of leadership.

Mary H. Palmer, PhD, RN, FAAN
Selected in 2001 for the Umphlet Distinguished Professorship, Dr. Palmer is a recognized leader in the field of gerontology, with nearly 20 years of research and policy expertise in the management of urinary incontinence in older populations. She previously served as associate professor and director of the Office of Research in the College of Nursing at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. Her study on the changes in continence status of nursing home residents over their first year of admission to the nursing home was the first of its kind and has served as a national model. Dr. Palmer works to enhance the appreciation of older adults in society. She has taught intergenerational creative writing classes to foster relationships and mutual learning opportunities between nursing home residents and high school students. She earned her BSN and MSN from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and her PhD from The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and a MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont. She is a member of the American Geriatrics Society, International Continence Society, Eastern Nursing Research society, and a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing.

Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Professorship in Health Care

The Beerstecher-Blackwell Professorship was created by Yolande E. Beerstecher in memory of her daughter Carol Anne Beerstecher Blackwell. The professorship supports interdisciplinary work aimed at the management of life threatening illness, end-of-life care, or palliative care in adults or children.

Sheila Santacroce PhD, APRN, CPNP
Dr. Santacroce is the Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Professor. She researches uncertainty surrounding illness and its biopsychosocial effects on the patient and family. Her interest in uncertainty during diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness developed through her work at the NIH National Cancer Institute. There she worked with children with cancer or HIV disease diagnoses, as well as at Duke University Medical Center with infants who were HIV sero-positive. Her recent studies include a pilot randomized clinical trial of telephone-delivered coping skills training that was delivered along with usual clinical care and aimed at adolescent/young adult patients and their parents to develop functional means of managing uncertainty in childhood cancer survivorship.

To inquire about an investment in the future, please contact:

Anne Webb, Assistant Dean for Advancement
Phone: (919) 966-4619

Scholarships offer students an opportunity to pursue a nursing education when financial and other obstacles may otherwise prevent them from attaining their dream. Financial support recognizes talent and a student’s will to achieve.

For doctoral candidates and master’s degree students, a financial award could determine whether they are able to pursue the degree. Most have families and need to put careers on hold for two to seven years, which calls for significant sacrifice and a need for outside resources.

In addition to the competition for elite faculty members, the School also competes with other schools of nursing for the best students. Often, the most critical factor in attracting excellent students is the financial assistance we can offer them. Undergraduate, master’s students and doctoral candidates who have financial need and are academically talented benefit from donor support. Below are opportunities to support students:





Endowed Scholarship $100,000

$5,000 annual award


Thank you to the donors who have created the endowments that award scholarship support to School of Nursing students. Their generosity is a living gift that provides educational support for future nursing students in perpetuity.

Student Support: A Commitment to Educational Opportunity

Through private giving, The School of Nursing is the beneficiary of alumni and friends who, through their generosity and commitment to nursing education and scholarship, have created funds for student support. To inquire about this support and other forms of financial aid, please contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services or call (919) 966-4260.