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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.

 

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  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> In 1993 just after Claire had been made the Interim President of the University, a group of us were in the ladies room after the Trustees’ meeting. <strong>Suddenly someone shouted, “Heads up, the President is in the ladies room!”</strong> It took us about two seconds to realize that of course the President was in the ladies room…it was Claire! Everyone cheered for the first woman President of the University of Pennsylvania.</h4><h4> –Pedie Killebrew</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><img width="250" height="167" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/89/width/250/height/167/3502_naylor_fagin_2.rev.1479408722.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3502 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/89/width/250/height/167/3502_naylor_fagin_2.rev.1479408722.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/89/width/250/height/167/3502_naylor_fagin_2.rev.1479408722.jpg 3x" data-max-w="860" data-max-h="576"/>Dear Claire,</h4><h4> You have been and will continue to be my guiding spirit.  You have created untold opportunities for me to have a major impact on the care and outcomes of vulnerable older adults and their family caregivers.  I, and more importantly, the people who depend on nurses for guidance and support owe you countless thanks.  I don’t know what mystical spirit arranged for me to be one of the starlets in your universe but <strong>I wake up every day feeling so blessed to have you as a treasured mentor and friend.</strong> </h4><h4> Love, Mary</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> 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> 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> We have known Claire since 1993.  Jodi and I worked for Claire when she was the interim president at Penn. We go to NY a few times each year to visit with her and Sam and love our time with her.  Last Christmas we took our children to see them. Claire is FAMILY to us. </h4><h4> –Michelle Jester & Jodi Sarkisian</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> I send warmest wishes and lots of love to you on your special day.  <strong>I’m always so grateful that you served as Dean to my school, and as Interim President of my University.</strong>  I am also aware that it was you who arranged for me to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.  <strong>As always, you pressed forward to have nurses recognized and acknowledged.</strong>  That doctorate of many, is most special to me.  Thank you, thank you.</h4><h4> With gratitude and love,<br/> Shirley Chater</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Dearest Dean Fagin,</h4><h4> I had the most wonderful 40-year career at the University of Pennsylvania, and I owe it all to you.  As Dean, you made sure that each of your faculty was supported and encouraged so that they could be successful.  I was certainly a beneficiary of your amazing caring leadership. <strong>Words are insufficient in expressing my gratitude to you.  So thank you for all your help and for being our Dean.</strong> Congratulations on the continued recognition of your remarkable achievements and for mentoring so many nursing leaders.</h4><h4> Love,<br/> Mary Ann Lafferty Della Valle</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> All of these memory statements probably begin with…”there can be no one best memory,” for <strong>knowing Claire is an adventure with endless moments where you stop in wonder at the person across the desk, classroom, dinner table, living room.  Claire is like no one else.</strong>  I met Claire in 1992 when I joined the Penn School of Nursing to be in charge of alumni and development.  In fact, I met her before I moved to Philadelphia and began work.  I can remember exactly where I was standing, what time of day it was and the sun streaming into my living room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when I picked up the phone and Claire – who I had never met before and had no warning would call me – was on the phone.  She wanted to find out who I was and fill me in on all that awaited me – and us – in fundraising for the best nursing school in the world.  I can’t remember all of the details of our conversation, but I do remember that when the call was over I was completely engaged and enthralled what lay ahead for me at Penn.</h4><h4> I’ve always described Claire as someone who could move in a nanosecond between making the most astute and insightful comment on how to solve a healthcare problem and noticing that you had done something different with your hair.  Her incredible attention to you as a person at the very same time she was moving healthcare forward resulted in an extraordinary blend of professional excellence and deeply personal commitment to support and celebrate all who work to make the world a better place.</h4><h4> –Kate Judge</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> My first contact with Claire was in the spring of 1979 when she called me to come to Penn Nursing to start a new midwifery program. I was then Director of the graduate midwifery program at Columbia University and trying to finish my doctoral program. As I was later to realize, Claire, you were an expert in recruiting and made me an offer I could not refuse. Not only did you offer me the opportunity to create a midwifery program from the ground up in the way I thought it should be done (I had taught and directed two programs to date for 8 years - both of which were the longest running programs), you agreed to pay for me to finish data collection with a statistical consultant so that I could finish my Doctor in Public Health degree and offered me a very nice salary to do what I loved doing! <strong>Your leadership of Penn Nursing was stellar, and I benefited as did many other relatively junior faculty.</strong> What stands out about you in my mind, Claire, is your character. You are honest, caring, stubborn when needed, and most of all, trustworthy. You shared that trust in me to establish a top-rated midwifery program and practice, and your encouragement, support, and unquestionable loyalty brought out the best in me and in Penn Nursing. <strong>I learned many valuable life lessons from you Claire that have served and continue to serve me well in the international efforts to save the lives of women and newborns, using competent, caring midwives.</strong> Many blessings for your continued mentoring and enjoyment of whatever life brings your way. I regret I cannot be with you in person on October 26th, but will be with you in spirit.</h4><h4> Love,<br/> Joyce Beebe Thompson</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4><img width="250" height="176" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/89/width/250/height/176/3497_claire_fagin_2.rev.1479325127.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3497 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/89/width/250/height/176/3497_claire_fagin_2.rev.1479325127.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/89/width/250/height/176/3497_claire_fagin_2.rev.1479325127.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1305" data-max-h="918"/>I love this picture of Claire and Ellen Fuller. This picture was taken around 1984. Their partnership helped launch our school from a school of nursing with a focus on education and practice to one of the finest schools of nursing dedicated to advancing nursing science. <strong>Claire’s vision was the driving force in shaping the mission</strong>–it was not an easy task. Under her guiding hand we were able to form partnerships with our colleagues in the school of medicine. <strong>In those early days of the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Scholars program (Claire was one of the influential members of the program) the school of nursing faculty were finally recognized as independent researchers and full partners in the research enterprise at the University of Pennsylvania.</strong> I am most appreciative of Claire’s mentorship and friendship. </h4><h4> –Barbara Medoff-Cooper</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> When I came to the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 Dean Dorothy Mereness was the dean and Dean Theresa Lynch was around as Dean Emeritus. When Martin Meyerson became President of Penn he questioned undergraduate professional education and the Penn School of Nursing was among the educational programs threatened. Dean Merreness deserves enormous credit for the persuasive and diplomatic manner in which she convinced the University administration about the many advantages of Penn utilizing its heath education resources to support a School of Nursing. Dean Mereness made it possible to recruit Dean Claire M. Fagin, and <strong>the presence and leadership of Dr. Fagin has been a blessing to the Penn School of Nursing, the valuable profession of nursing, and the University.</strong> It has been a privilege to be associated with Dr. Fagin during her entire 40 years at Penn and I hope and pray that her tenth decade will be healthy and blessed. </h4><h4> –Duncan W. Van Dusen</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Dear Claire,</h4><h4> Happy 90th Birthday!  On a birthday several decades ago, when you were Dean of Penn Nursing, you wanted a second hole in your ear adding a hole for another pierced earring, do you remember?  You wanted it before Sam told you not to get it!</h4><h4> I came to your office and you asked me where my ear piercing gun was, you thought all nurse practitioners had them.  Instead, I had a needle, alcohol, and an apple, all we needed was an ice cube.  You asked, “What do you think you are going to do with that?”  I described the procedure and you had second thoughts.  I gently suggested that you go to the Piercing Pagoda at the King of Prussia Mall.  You were not sure you had time before Sam could stop you!</h4><h4> Just think how way ahead of your time you were with all the multiple piercings people wear today!  <strong>As they say, you were a  real trendsetter, way before your time.</strong></h4><h4> All the best at 90 years young, and much love,</h4><h4> Beth Ann Swan<br/> MSN 1983 and PhD 1996</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> I have a very clear memory of Dr. Fagin, Dean Fagin at the time, speaking to our small group of PhD students in dissertation seminar.  In answer to a question about policy change, Dean Fagin went to the chalk board and drew sketches explaining how she accomplished some major changes both inside and outside the University.</h4><h4> Those drawings changed my professional life.  <strong>I was truly amazed by what a nurse can accomplish.  She was talking about substantive changes in a way that made them seem possible and relatively simple.</strong>  I decided following her lecture that after I finished my PhD, I too was going to be a change maker.  I learned later via experience that Dean Fagin simplified the “how to”, I am very glad she did.  She inspired me to try in earnest and I followed her lead since that important class many years ago.</h4><h4> –Kathleen Brown, PhD</h4></div>

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