Upstate News

March 27, 2009
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

SUNY Upstate taps nurse practitioner to receive honorary degree at Commencement

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse native Fay W. Whitney, Ph.D., R.N., a pioneer in the practice and education of nurse practitioners in the United States, will address graduates and receive an honorary degree from the State University of New York at the 2009 SUNY Upstate Medical University Commencement May 17.

Whitney, professor emeritus in the School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming, is a former faculty member at SUNY Upstate, having served as assistant professor, associate professor and co-director of the Adult Health Nurse Practitioner Program (1974 to 1983), director of the Nurse Practitioner Program (1977 to 1983) and as a nurse practitioner at University Hospital (1974 to 1984).

The focus of her research in recent years has been to evaluate the critical role of nurse practitioners in the recovery of elderly stroke victims, particularly in rural settings and underprivileged communities. She has been instrumental in increasing the number of nurse practitioners from 27 to more than 200 since establishment of her programs in Wyoming in 1992.

“Awarding an honorary degree to Dr. Whitney will highlight the importance of SUNY Upstate’s nurse practitioner and advanced nursing programs that support the health and well being of patients in communities throughout Upstate New York, particularly in rural areas and underserved larger communities in the region,” said SUNY Upstate President David R. Smith, M.D.

Whitney received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Rochester in 1961, followed by a master’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree in public health and a Ph.D. in social sciences from Syracuse University from 1974 through 1982

In recognition of her distinguished career as a nurse educator and researcher and the generous $3 million gift from her husband, Roy, the University of Wyoming’s School of Nursing was renamed the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

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