Geraldene Felton, dean emerita of the University of Iowa College of Nursing, is highly celebrated as a national trailblazer in nursing research and education.
Raised in Philadelphia, she joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 1949 and rose through the ranks to become deputy director of the nursing division at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. In 1975, she discharged from the Army as lieutenant colonel and began a new career in nursing education. In 2018, the UI honored her military service with the Hawkeye Distinguished Veterans Memorial Award.
Felton came to the UI in 1981 to serve as professor and dean of the College of Nursing. She retired in 1997, though she remained a leader for various national nursing education and research organizations. Among her many accomplishments as nursing dean were starting the college's PhD and nurse anesthesia programs, strengthening ties with the UI Hospitals & Clinics, and building a research-based culture.
"Because of Dean Felton, our faculty—and nurse researchers across the country—have been able to carry out programs of research that have significantly improved the health care of so many individuals across Iowa and beyond."
Ann Marie McCarthy (90PhD), professor and associate dean for research and scholarship at the College of Nursing, says, "Because of Dean Felton, our faculty—and nurse researchers across the country—have been able to carry out programs of research that have significantly improved the health care of so many individuals across Iowa and beyond."
Felton continues to invest in the College of Nursing through her longtime support of the Nursing Progress Fund and by establishing the Geraldene Felton Graduate Student Scholarship Fund and Geraldene Felton Student Success Center. Recognized in 2000 as a "Living Legend" by the American Academy of Nursing, Felton had made enduring contributions to her field that will undoubtedly influence generations of future nursing students and professionals.
Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.