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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> 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><strong>Thank you for your mentorship and wise counsel over many years.</strong>  I am at Penn because of you.  You were right on this as always as I’ve loved every minute at Penn. We have experienced many career highs together and visited wonderful places together from Bellagio to Santiago to St. Petersburg and including a wonderful time in San Juan last year with Sam and Mary. <strong>Looking forward to continuing our adventures.</strong></h4><h4> With much admiration and love,<br/> Linda Aiken</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Claire was “my Dean,” as I was making the transition from MSN to doctoral levels.  I initially chose another school (that also chose me).  When Claire asked me why, & also, to return to Penn, she said, “Sue, when you are AT the best, you STAY at the BEST!”  I am so very grateful for this advice and endorsement so many years later.  It is an honor and a pleasure to have had the opportunity to thank her for this and so many other things that she gave us all.  <strong>I try to emulate her experience & knowledge in every way, as well as the way that she so unabashedly gave encouragement & support to her students.</strong>  Love to you, Claire!</h4><h4> Sincerely,<br/> Sue Dickey</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>
  • <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><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><br/><img width="250" height="178" alt="This is a picture from 1991 when 5 of us were inducted into the Academy. This was (and I think st..." src="/live/image/gid/89/width/250/height/178/3499_aan_inductees_1991.rev.1479407533.png" class="lw_image lw_image3499 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/89/width/250/height/178/3499_aan_inductees_1991.rev.1479407533.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/89/width/250/height/178/3499_aan_inductees_1991.rev.1479407533.png 3x" data-max-w="1135" data-max-h="810"/><span class="lw_image_caption lw_align_left" style="width: 250px">This is a picture from 1991 when 5 of us were inducted into the Academy. This was (and I think still is) the largest number of inductees in one year from any school. Pictured left to right: Connie Carino, Joanne Disch, Claire Fagin, Ann O'Sullivan, Cynthia Scalzi, and Jane Barnsteiner.</span>Claire-isms:</strong></span></h4><h4><strong>“Work the crowd, you can talk with your friends later”</strong> as she squeezed our arms when we were attending a social event on behalf of the school</h4><h4><strong>“Don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder. If you want something, go make it happen.”</strong> Sage advice (that I continue to use) when I asked her how people got into the Academy.</h4><h4><strong>“Tears behind the eyes,”</strong> on how she kept her composure in difficult meetings when she would be challenged by uncivil behavior on the part of peers from other parts of the University.</h4><h4><strong>“Hasn’t nursing been good to us!”</strong>  Her joy in letting us know our annual salary increase, back when the faculty was small enough that she met with us individually to do our annual appraisal; and in exulting over our shared profession.</h4><h4> Lovingly, Jane Barnsteiner</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> To work with Claire Fagin during her deanship was like experiencing a Mac and Windows running simultaneously.  She invented multi-tasking before anyone thought to coin the term.  She created such an infectious, vibrant and challenging atmosphere as well as creating so many advocates for nursing throughout the University and well beyond. </h4><h4> The pioneering spirit of the Fagin years at Penn Nursing was so infectious and so special.</h4><h4> –Kristin Davidson</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> I first met Claire in 1973 when I began teaching nursing at Lehman College, a Bronx division of CUNY. I have been her devoted fan ever since. I followed her to Penn in 1981 & stayed in touch when I moved my teaching life to NYU in 1995. We have traveled together, partied together, laughed & cried together. <strong>She has been the steadfast rock in my professional life & a wonderful fun friend in my personal life.</strong> Her judgement & advice have been rock solid and her sense of humor the best.</h4><h4> My dear Claire, do you remember being in New Orleans at an NLN meeting in the ’70s or ’80s, when we kept telling each booth: <strong>“Have curriculum, will travel!”</strong> What fun it was to create & live that curriculum! You are a continuing joy in my life. Hank & I send love to you & Sam on this wonderful occasion.</h4><h4> –Ellen Baer</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> 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> 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><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> 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><img width="143" height="225" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/89/width/143/height/225/3498_curley_and_claire.rev.1479406523.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3498 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/89/width/143/height/225/3498_curley_and_claire.rev.1479406523.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/89/width/143/height/225/3498_curley_and_claire.rev.1479406523.jpg 3x" data-max-w="538" data-max-h="846"/><strong>It’s all about impact and that, our dear Claire, is your legacy.</strong></h4><h4> From one parent advocate to another, I will be forever grateful for wide shoulders. Thank you for being such an inspiration and thank you for the opportunity to watch in awe.</h4><h4> With love and admiration,<br/> Martha Curley</h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><h4> Meeting Claire Fagin was like breathing in wonderfully fresh air. It was 1977 and I was Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania.  The Vice President, Tom Langfitt, was key in a search process for a new Dean of Nursing. Claire was a candidate. She breezed, literally, into the office wearing elegant leather pants, a self-assured smile on her face and a walk that more than hinted at her taking over the world.  Well, it wasn’t quite the world she took over – but it was the School of Nursing and later on the whole University.  <strong>Her leadership, smarts, and humor shaped and changed things – moving them forward to new horizons. </strong> I’d say she was also beautiful and sexy, but that probably would be un-p.c.</h4><h4> Over the years, my treasured friendship with Claire grew.  It has been and always will be a treat to be with her.  It is still like breathing wonderfully fresh air. </h4><h4> –Bettina Hoerlin</h4></div>

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