Provost David H. Perrin said, “Lynne has provided exemplary leadership to our School of Nursing for over two decades. The school now offers highly selective educational programs at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree has recently been approved for establishment by the UNC Board of Governors. Dean Pearcey’s legacy is one of excellence as evidenced by the school’s recognition as a National League of Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education for three consecutive terms.”
Pearcey will be succeeded on July 1 by Dr. Robin E. Remsburg, who is a 1982 graduate of the School of Nursing. Remsburg is coming from George Mason University where she is currently director of the School of Nursing and associate dean for the College of Health and Human Services.
Pearcey joined UNCG in 1989 as professor and associate dean, coming from the University of South Alabama-Mobile. She was named interim dean in 1990 and received the permanent appointment as dean in 1991. She earned her BSN at Eastern Kentucky University, and her MSN and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Kentucky.
A strong leader, she came to be known affectionately as “the Nike Dean” in Deans Council. Why? “Occasionally, I just spoke up and said ‘Just Do It’ (Nike’s slogan) and let’s make a decision.” She incorporated two guiding principles in her work philosophy. One was “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” The second was “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
As dean, Pearcey oversaw continued growth of the school, both in numbers and in degrees offered. The Ph.D. in Nursing began in 2005 with a total of 12 students and the school has been authorized by the UNC system to begin offering a second doctorate, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, in fall 2015. The RN to BSN program was established in 1991. The School of Nursing and Bryan School of Business & Economics collaborated to establish the combined MBA/MSN degree. As online degree programs were started at UNCG, MSN concentrations in nursing education and nursing administration were moved online.
The school’s programs have achieved recognition. After all of the graduates of the MSN nurse anesthesia program passed the national certification exam in 1990, U.S. News & World Report ranked it 8th in the nation in 1996 and the program is regularly ranked among the nation’s top 10. The school’s gerontology nurse practitioner program has also been ranked. For 2005-08, the school was named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education for Ongoing Faculty Development by the National League of Nursing, holding the designation for another term 2008-11.
In her 22 years, she has seen almost 5,000 students complete degrees – 3,165 BSN graduates (including both BSN and RN- to BSNs), 1,790 MSN graduates, and 30 Ph.D. graduates. The number of graduates has grown from 138 in 1991 to 251 this year. Enrollment has jumped 45 percent, from 698 to 1,010. There were 30 faculty and five staff on hand in 1991; today there are 65 faculty and 20 staff.
Pearcey never lost touch with the school’s past, and she collaborated with Dr. Eloise R. Lewis, the school’s founding dean, until Lewis’ death in 1999.
Colleagues, alumni, friends, community members, faculty, staff and students, have honored Pearcey by creating the Dean’s Endowed Faculty Professional Development Fund. They also honored her with a hand-crafted quilt, with squares made by faculty members and staff that will hang in the school until Pearcey and her husband retire to Florida.
By Steve Gilliam