Outgoing nursing dean Mundinger honored for 24 years of leadership

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Hilda Hodges Jones ’79NRS and Christopher S. Jones ’67LAW, pictured here with Mary O’Neil Mundinger ’81PH, in center, are among donors creating an endowed professorship in Mundinger’s honor.Mary O’Neil Mundinger ’81PH, dean of the School of Nursing, was honored by more than 250 friends and colleagues in academia and health care at Low Library on November 9. Mundinger will step down as dean, after 24 years of leadership, by June 2010.

Gala cochairs Mary Dickey Lindsay ’45NRS and Sally Shipley Stone ’69NRS presented Mundinger with a gift of a wooden captain’s chair, symbolizing a new professorship that has been proposed in her honor. More than $2.3 million has been raised to date for the endowed chair, to be held by future deans of the school.

Guests saluted Mundinger for her wide-reaching influence on nursing education and practice. It was on her watch that the School of Nursing became one of the preeminent nursing-education programs in the country. As dean, Mundinger championed the role of advanced practice nurses, who have a large degree of autonomy in treating patients. Perhaps most notably, she oversaw the creation of the first clinical doctoral degree in nursing; that degree, the doctor of nursing practice, is now offered at more than 200 nursing schools.

Joining School of Nursing trustees, administrators, and alumni at the celebration were University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71LAW, Columbia University Medical Center Dean Lee Goldman, and guests who included Congressman Charles Rangel; former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean ’63TC; Herbert Pardes, president of New York–Presbyterian Hospital; and Ellen Futter ’71 BC, ’74LAW, president of the American Museum of Natural History.

Mundinger will remain on the nursing faculty after handing over her administrative duties. A search for her successor is currently under way.

— Marcus Tonti

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