Distinguished Alumni Honored at Awards Reception

At a reception held at the Paul J. Rizzo Conference Center, donors and alumni were recognized for their contributions to nursing, their communities, and to the School. During a ceremony presided over by Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor Kristen M. Swanson, RN, PhD, FAAN, five awards were given by the School of Nursing Alumni Association. The recipients were chosen for their career accomplishments as well as their dedication to community service.

The first award recipient was Dr. Robert Dodge, BSN ’91. A clinical associate professor at the UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Dodge was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his work in the field of HIV/AIDS. He has been conducting research as well as providing clinical care and education about HIV/AIDS since 1992.

Dr. Robin Knobel, PhD ’06, was recognized next with the Distinguished Alumna Award. Dr. Knobel is an assistant professor at Duke University School of Nursing. She teaches in the graduate nursing program and conducts research on physiologic processes related to thermoregulation and perfusion in extremely premature infants. Her work has led to changes in national guidelines regarding neonatal resuscitation.

The 2013 award recipients were, from left to right, Mr. David Oehler, Dr. Robin Knobel, Dr. Leslie Davis, Dr. Robert Dodge, and Ms. Amber Bivins (on behalf of Dr. Debra Barksdale).

The 2013 award recipients were, from left to right, Mr. David Oehler, Dr. Robin Knobel, Dr. Leslie Davis, Dr. Robert Dodge, and Ms. Amber Bivins (on behalf of Dr. Debra Barksdale).

The Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D) award was given to Dr. Leslie Davis, BSN ’85, MSN, ’80, PhD ’11. Dr. Davis is an assistant professor of nursing at UNC-Greensboro. Much of her research and writing has focused on cardiovascular health. Recognized as a leader in the field, Dr. Davis has been working with many national organizations, including the American Heart Association, to implement evidence-based protocols for nurse practitioners and other health providers.

Mr. David Oehler, BSN ’96, MSN ’00, received the Carrington Award for Community Service. Mr. Oehler has been a manager for the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Orthopedic Hospital for several years. His roles have ranged from nursing supervisor to his current position as administrator of the Cape Fear Campus. His leadership led the Orthopedic program to earn a Specialty Center Designation as well as numerous quality and service awards from national agencies.

The last award of the evening, the Honorary Alumna of the Year Award, went to Dr. Debra Barksdale, PhD, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, CNE, FAANP, FAAN. Dr. Barksdale is an associate professor at the SON and director of the SON’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. Among her numerous accomplishments as a researcher, a nurse educator, and leader, Dr. Barksdale serves as President of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and is the only nurse on the Board of Governors for the new Patient-Center Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Unable to attend the ceremony, the award was accepted by Amber Bivins (Dr. Barksdale’s daughter) on Dr. Barksdale’s behalf.

The awards were given by members of the Alumni Association Awards Committee, including Robin Harper, BSN ’86, and Phyllis Justus, BSN ’81. Alumni Association President Roulhac Johnson, BSN ’00, was also acknowledged for her hard work leading up to the ceremony.

Donors were recognized by Dean Swanson for their generous support of the School. Attendees also had the chance to learn about the impact donors make through remarks given by two student scholars: Eunice Morde Doty Scholar Elizabeth Coble and Cronenwett Global Health Scholar Lisandro Hernandez Perez. They spoke about their experiences at the SON, the difference their scholarships have made in their education, and their aspirations once they graduate as full-fledged Carolina Nurses.

To learn more about the awards and read the full biographies of the 2013 recipients, visit our Alumni Awards Program page.