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Fay and Roy Whitney establish lectureship at College of Nursing with historic contribution

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- An endowed lectureship was established at the Upstate Foundation with the largest contribution in the history of the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University. Fay Whitney, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., a national leader and advocate for advanced nursing practice, and her husband Roy, have given $50,000 to create The Whitney Lectureship Endowment for the College of Nursing.

“Dr. Whitney’s generous gift enables the College to invite nationally recognized speakers to campus, which will expose our students to important national trends that are essential to health care,” said College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, Ph.D., R.N. “The lectures will ensure our students at Upstate and the surrounding community will hear directly from the most innovative and influential thought leaders across the country, and thereby have similar student experiences to those at Penn, Vanderbilt or Harvard.”

Whitney described the lectureship as “an exciting adventure into the future” and invited alumni to join her. The Nursing Alumni Association has pledged to match gifts to bring the endowment total to $100,000; about 60 percent of the goal has been secured.

Deep Ties with Upstate

After she and her husband raised their three children, Whitney restarted her nursing career in the 1970s, earning her master’s degree at Syracuse University and working as a nurse practitioner at University Hospital. She was named director of Upstate’s four-track NP program, where she developed a rich collaboration between the hospital and health sciences colleges, encouraging interprofessional education before it was even known by that name. She served until 1983 when the program closed due to loss of funding. The program graduated more than 300 NPs for primary and critical care practice.

In the next decade, Whitney earned a doctorate at SU and was named by the nation’s largest health-related philanthropic organization to its first class of Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholars. She was awarded more than $3 million in grants to support the beginning of the nurse practitioner movement and worked to pass laws in New York so NP graduates could practice.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Whitney helped build adult, gerontology, pediatric, psychiatric, occupational health and acute care NP programs that graduated about 500 NPs. She conducted gerontology and stroke research and helped start many NP-managed clinics in the Philadelphia area. She has held the prestigious title of Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) for 26 years.

Relocating to Wyoming in 1992, Whitney distinguished herself as a clinical practitioner, nurse educator, researcher and leader. She founded the Whitney Health and Wellness Center for elderly patients in Laramie and is professor emeritus at the University of Wyoming’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

In 2011, Upstate’s College of Nursing awarded Whitney the honorary doctorate of science in recognition of her work to lay the foundation for today’s nurse practitioner program.

“Upstate is, and always has been, part of my professional integrity,” said Whitney. “I hold strong memories of that formative time which became the basic platform of my practice and my career. The Upstate nursing program helped shape the new movement in advanced nursing care in the east,” she continued. “Upstate has been pivotal in bringing nurses and programs together to change the landscape of practice in rural, underserved areas across this city and state.”

As the longest-established upper-division nursing school in the region, the Upstate College of Nursing offers programs that include baccalaureate completion, RN - MS, nurse practitioner education in primary care, pediatrics and psych-mental health, and the DNP.

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