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A Celebration of Claire M. Fagin

On the 40th anniversary of her arrival at Penn and the 10th anniversary of naming our building, Claire M. Fagin Hall, we are proud to celebrate the ongoing impact of Dr. Fagin on our school and the profession of nursing.

Claire Fagin’s deanship was transformational for Penn Nursing in many ways, including strengthening our commitment to student support. To this day, Claire remains dedicated to ensuring Penn Nursing remains the number one school of nursing, which means we must continue to attract the best and brightest students. What better way to honor Claire and celebrate her 90th birthday than to establish a scholarship in the name of her and her husband, Sam – two of the School’s greatest advocates.

Please join us in raising $125,000 to establish the Claire and Sam Fagin Scholarship at the School of Nursing and help to ensure that the most talented students have access to the exceptional education and incredible opportunities that are unique to our School.



Messages to Claire

Below is a rotating sample of the many messages to Claire received from friends at Penn Nursing and beyond in honor of her 90th birthday. To add your message for publication on the website, please submit it here.


  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><strong>To Claire, quintessential leader, role model, wise sage</strong>… I remember from the late 1980s those days of many struggles to bring The CARE Program to life…One special memory sticks out:   Being in your Office when you shared a memo you had just received from a department chair from ‘across the street.’ Here are a couple of prescient quotes:</h4><h4> “Within the context of a University program it seems that the service and clinical care aspects of this endeavor would be under the auspices of the Medical Center, while the research and educational activities might be more appropriately directed by the School of Nursing… No clinical program should be operated by nurses; this is tantamount to practicing medicine without a license.”</h4><h4> Your response was ‘pure Claire’!! Apoplectic, yet determined to make this happen…CARE’s gestational period took a little longer than had been hoped, but we need never have feared…<strong>With your clear vision about the place of nursing in the academy, your stellar leadership and perseverance, it slowly advanced</strong>.… Then, as Acting President of the University, you were front and Center for the monumental Ribbon Cutting Ceremony when The CARE Program – the School’s first major owned and operated academic practice – was born!!!</h4><h4> Thank you again for teaching us so many important lessons!!!  </h4><h4> Lots of Love,<br/> Lois Evans</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> It is such an honor and thrill to send you best wishes on your “major milestones” and to be able to celebrate with you at the 2016 Fagin Award lecture and reception! I have so many wonderful memories of coming to Penn in the late 1980s, being hired into the SON fold as you, Joan Lynaugh, Mathy Mezey, Neville Strumpf and Lois Evans (among others) advanced nursing practice. <strong>You championed advanced practice and faculty practice models</strong> and I love that Penn Nursing Network practices, including the Continence practice, began under your tenure. I still get asked “what’s a nice girl like you doing in job like this (referring to urology)?” and smile when I think of the somewhat crazy things Mathy and I did (with your blessing) to provide care for frail, older persons with urinary incontinence. <strong>You were, and continue to be, an inspiration and I thank you for all you’ve done for nursing, geriatric nursing, and health care!</strong></h4><h4> Best wishes to you Claire, and I look forward to many more celebrations!<br/> With love and gratitude,<br/> Chris Bradway</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><strong>Claire, receiving the Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award was not only an honor but also an opportunity for me to reflect on my research but also how the science of family caregiving evolved.</strong>  In that process I discovered more about what I already knew— that you made an incredible contribution to that science and to the care of children and their families. </h4><h4> In honor of that contribution I want to share the poem I wrote to close my lecture. </h4><h4><strong><em>From our roots we grow</em></strong><br/><strong><em>Haphazard it seems at times but connected nonetheless</em></strong><br/><strong><em>By everyday experiences and expectations</em></strong><br/><strong><em>Some of us more privileged than others</em></strong><br/><strong><em>Bound to our sense that unless others are strong we are not</em></strong><br/><strong><em>Strengthening and building on what we have</em></strong><br/><strong><em>To live the life that we all can</em></strong></h4><h4> Best,<br/> Janet A. Deatrick</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> You introduced me to <strong>interdisciplinary education and practice</strong> when I was a resident and you were Dean at Lehman – it changed my career! Our friendship and your wise counsel have also enriched my life in so many ways!!  My deepest thanks, dear Claire.</h4><h4> –Jo Ivey Boufford</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> We honor and salute your extraordinary career of visionary leadership, innovative scholarship and exceptional achievements.</h4><h4><strong>Your invincible spirit, impeccable instincts, and transformational vision for nursing education, research and practice have placed you at the pinnacle of universally respected and beloved Legends of Nursing.</strong></h4><h4> Your grace, kindness and generosity have no bounds. We are ever grateful for your enthusiastic support, encouragement and appreciation for the basic sciences faculty in our School of Nursing. <strong>It has been a distinct privilege and true joy to have worked under your guidance and leadership.</strong></h4><h4> With sincere gratitude and warmest wishes,</h4><h4> –Zee and Tom</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><strong>Claire M. Fagin was a dean extraordinaire!</strong> I cannot imagine working with a more marvelous leader of an academic unit, a more supportive administrator of faculty, staff, and students, or a wiser person than Claire.</h4><h4> It was an honor to have been recruited to Penn by Claire in 1978 and to work with her throughout her tenure as dean, to be at Penn when she became our Interim President, and to work her again when she returned to the School of Nursing as our senior faculty member.</h4><h4><strong>I learned so much about nursing education and administration of nursing education from Claire.</strong> I became a much better faculty member than I could have ever anticipated because of Claire. </h4><h4> I join all of our colleagues in thanking Claire billions and billions of times over, and in wishing her great continued success in all she does. </h4><h4> Gratefully, <br/> Jacqueline Fawcett</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Dear Dr. Fagin,</h4><h4> Although we have never been formally introduced, I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!! <strong>What a thrill for me to work in the nursing school and to learn about all that you have done to make our school what it is today.</strong> It’s a thrill to have the chance to listen to you speak whenever you come to town for the Awards Program. <strong>I look forward to your talks every year because I know you will find a way to deliver a heartfelt, funny and relevant take on the subject at hand.</strong> I also wanted you to know how much I love being a part of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, a Center you championed from its inception and continue to do so right up to the present. Thank you so much!</h4><h4> All the best,<br/> Andrea Barol</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> My first memory of Claire Fagin was when, as a MSN student, we had the honor of meeting with her as our new dean. <strong>She shared her vision for what Penn Nursing could be. It was inspiring and very different from where we were as a school.</strong> I recall that a student asked her why we no longer made the Penn nursing cap available to students and what would this student do if she were to take a job in a facility where they mandated wearing a cap. This was 1977. Claire’s response set the stage as the captain of the rocket ship that would propel us into the new and exciting age. <strong>With full dignity and forcefulness, she said “No Penn grad would take a job in a facility where she had to wear a cap.” I nearly did a cartwheel with joy. We were off and running toward greatness.</strong> Thank you Claire - vision, courage and appropriate irreverence!</h4><h4> With love,<br/> Kathy McCauley</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Thank you for all of your encouragement and for always taking the time for a brief hello and kind word for me. </h4><h4><strong>I wish you much joy in reaching this wonderful milestone.</strong></h4><h4> Fondly,<br/> Melissa O’Connor, PhD’12</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Dearest Claire,</h4><h4> You became my muse when I was your student in the doctoral leadership course.   I still quote your brilliant insights from that course to my students, to my family, to whomever I can, whenever I can.  <strong>You have been a guiding light to generations of nurses and I am so fortunate to have known you as a teacher, a Dean, a President and a dear friend.</strong>   We celebrate you today and every day. For all you have done to inspire me, mentor me and warm my heart- I am eternally grateful. </h4><h4> Love,<br/> Terri Lipman</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Claire, I remember so well coming to see you as a young faculty member seeking an appointment in the School of Nursing when you were the Dean. Since I am not a nurse by training, I was afraid you would tell me to look elsewhere. <strong>Instead you immediately embraced the idea of having an inter-professional colleague in the form of me, an epidemiologist. I will be forever grateful for your enthusiastic welcome and support.</strong></h4><h4> –Jennifer Pinto-Martin</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Dear Claire,</h4><h4> You are my mentor, teacher, advocate and leader.  <strong>My career and life would not be the same without you.</strong></h4><h4> Much Love,<br/> Gates Rhodes</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><img width="250" height="159" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/89/width/250/height/159/3500_claire_jemmott.rev.1479407836.png" class="lw_image lw_image3500 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/89/width/250/height/159/3500_claire_jemmott.rev.1479407836.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/89/width/250/height/159/3500_claire_jemmott.rev.1479407836.png 3x" data-max-w="781" data-max-h="497"/>Celebrating my endowed van Ameringen Chair event with my mentor and friend, Claire.</h4><h4><strong>I could not have received this honor without you. Thanks for all you have done for me.</strong></h4><h4> Love ya, Loretta</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> I don’t have one particular story to share, but instead I have two decades of memorable experiences accumulated from each time I am with you. <strong>I cherish our interactions because every time I learn from you, laugh with you, plan with you, and gain confidence and motivation from you.</strong> For that I am grateful and appreciate all the great things you have done for nursing and for me personally.  Best wishes and congratulations on your milestones with many more to come.</h4><h4> Love,<br/> Kathy Bowles</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> When I was Chairman of the Trustees and our President Sheldon Hackney resigned to take a position in Washington I needed to appoint a temporary President. <strong>There was never a doubt in my mind the strongest Dean was Claire.</strong> She was a no nonsense tell it like it was. She did a terrific job of cleaning up a lot of messes. If she had been younger at the time she might very well have been the permanent President. <strong>She really was the first female President in the Ivies.</strong> I got a little chuckle of thinking of the medical center and all those doctors reporting to a nurse! She is a great lady and good friend. Sally joins me in sending all our best.</h4><h4> –Alvin V. Shoemaker</h4></div>

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