Wollaber Named Hartwick’s Distinguished Nursing Alum

May 11, 2010

Hartwick's Department of Nursing will honor Dr. Debra Wollaber '73, Ph.D., RN as this year's Distinguished Nursing Alumna during a pinning ceremony May 28 in Stack Lounge, Dewar Union. The award is given each year to a Nursing alum in recognition of his or her achievements and excellence in the field through contributions to practice, research, education, and service.

Wollaber will be recognized during the department's annual pinning ceremony, when this year's graduates also will receive their Nursing pins ahead of Hartwick's May 29 Commencement ceremony.

Wollaber graduated from Hartwick College in 1973 with a B.S. and was a member of the Association of Student Nurses. While a student at Hartwick, Wollaber worked as a nurse's aide and LPN at Cobleskill Hospital, beginning her career even before graduating from the program. She earned her master's in parent-child nursing from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, and her doctorate in child and family studies from Syracuse University. She served as dean of Belmont University's School of Nursing beginning in 1997 and then the College of Health Sciences and Nursing from 1999-2007. She served as dean for 10 years before deciding she wanted to return to teaching.

During her tenure as dean she worked to promote better integration of high school-to-college and college-to-work transitions, worked to establish legislation in Tennessee to establish a loan-forgiveness program for those nurses who wish to return for a graduate degree in nursing and continue as nurse educators. She has spearheaded efforts to document systemic issues that impact student learning through her work with clinical placement, standardization of health records, and criminal background check policies for the region. While dean, Wollaber oversaw the planning and building of the Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences Center, a 76,000 square-foot state-of-the-art structure. Her work to ensure quality educational space is documented in the November/December 2008 issue of Nurse Educator.

Before her tenure at Belmont, she was on the faculty of Syracuse University's College of Nursing, and was a staff nurse at Albany Medical Center. Wollaber is past president of Tennessee Center for Nursing and is on the Statewide Educational Planning Committee of that organization. She has been an active member of the Tennessee Nurses Association and serves on Alternative Dispute Resolution Panels for the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

In 2006, she was selected as one of the "10 Women to Watch" by Nashville Medical News and has been chosen twice for the Nashville Business Journal's "Health Care 100," selected as individuals who have made a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare in Middle Tennessee and beyond. In 2008, she received the Vision of Nursing Award during The Tennessean's annual Salute to Nurses Luncheon in Nashville.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,480 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030