Alumna Leaves Legacy for Graduate Education and Research

In the late 1950s Barbara Williams Madden was among the first students to enroll in Carolina’s MSN program. Now generations of our graduate students will benefit from her generosity.

Barbara, (MSN, ’60) came to Carolina after graduating from Boston Children’s Hospital School of Nursing, and Teachers College, Columbia University, attracted to the fledgling graduate program at UNC by then-Dean Elizabeth Kemble’s national reputation.

Barbara became one of the country’s first providers of care to patients suffering from polio and went on to teach her methods in over 40 states and to deliver nursing presentations at an International Polio Conference in Rome. She helped develop and acted in three documentaries on polio nursing care, one of which received a special award at the Venice International Film Festival in 1953. These films were widely used in schools of nursing, hospitals, and public health agencies.

Her long and distinguished career took her from Boston to the Appalachian Trail to Southern California. Along the way Barbara served in leadership roles in national organizations and received teaching and research grants that made it possible to enrich nursing service.

As an early leader in nursing research, Barbara served as principal investigator on her first research grant in 1963. She began her support of Carolina Nursing’s research endeavors by providing funding for a research suite in the new addition to Carrington Hall during the Carolina First Campaign.

Barbara passed away in the summer of 2017, but thanks to her thoughtful estate planning she is now making it possible for current students to pursue research along with their studies by creating two endowments in support of graduate education and research. Barbara began planning this philanthropic gift to the School many years ago by taking advantage of the University’s annuity program. This allowed her to create funds for nursing students and receive annual income from the gift throughout her lifetime.

“As a long term philanthropic supporter of many important causes, Barbara’s thoughtful planning has enabled her to make a difference in significant ways.” said Anne Webb, Assistant Dean for Advancement. “We are so grateful to her for providing this vital support for our graduate students.