Nursing events include dedication of Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall

Innovation, legacy and leadership were the dominant themes on Oct. 9 as the VCU School of Nursing hosted three commemorative events – the Mahoney-Hamner Nursing Alumni Lectureship, the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall Building Dedication Ceremony and the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Society Dinner. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends came together to reflect and celebrate at each activity.

Activities began with the Mahoney-Hamner Nursing Alumni Lectureship by Diana J. Mason, Ph.D., the Rudin Professor of Nursing at the Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing, City University of New York. Mason discussed “Transforming Health Care: Lessons from Nursing Innovators.” She shared examples of nurses who have created successful models of care to address what patients and families need. Mason also encouraged nurses to be leaders and to be strategic in acting on their vision to promote health.

Due to the weather, the building dedication ceremony was held later that afternoon in Younger Auditorium, where a photo was unveiled showing the building’s name, Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall. The building is named in honor of Sadie Heath Cabaniss, a nursing pioneer who founded the VCU School of Nursing. Several members of the Cabaniss family were in attendance, including Robert (Bob) W. Cabaniss Jr., Edie Cabaniss, James Cabaniss and Suzanne Cabaniss.

“The greatest mark we can make is the success of our people, including students, faculty, staff, alumni – all who will impact the community in profound ways through commitments to helping other human beings,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “It’s so fitting, then, to honor one of the first champions of this idea at VCU — and who personified commitment so well — Sadie Heath Cabaniss. In doing so, we remember and proudly recognize her contributions by naming the School of Nursing building in her memory.”

The naming of the building represents the culmination of the Cabaniss Leadership Challenge, a $4 million fundraising campaign that was chaired by Corinne Dorsey, a VCU School of Nursing alumna. Following the dedication, the school celebrated the 148th birthday of Sadie Heath Cabaniss with cake and ice cream in the building’s student lounge.

Activities concluded with the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Society Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, recognized first-time distinguished donors who were present at the dinner. A distinguished donor is one that makes gifts to the school totaling $1,000 or more during a fiscal year. First-time distinguished donors who were present included Ann Hamric, Ph.D., associate dean of academic programs; Ph.D. candidate Kristin Filler, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at VCU; Arlethia Rogers, a VCU alumna; Becky Bowers Lanier; and Mary Jane Hogue.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Clinical Scholars Award. This project grew out of the efforts of Judith B. Collins, a VCU alumna, and her husband, Joseph M. Teefey, and alumna Barbara H. Dunn and JoAnne K. Henry, Ed.D., associate professor emerita.

Kathleen Bell, clinical instructor, and Susan Lindner, assistant clinical professor, both in the Department of Family and Community Health Nursing, were recognized as the award’s first recipients. The first Clinical Scholars Award is named in honor of Emily C. “Mimi” Bennett, a VCU alumna who retired a little over a year ago after 35 years of service to the Richmond community as a nurse practitioner. Bell and Linder received the award based on their proposal, “Improving Birth Outcomes Through a Birth Companion Program: Educating Nursing Students as Doulas.”


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Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall
Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall