University of South Florida

USF celebrates the life of an inspirational nursing leader

USF College of Nursing remembered the life and career of Former Dean Patricia A. Burns. PhD, during a special ceremony on Nov. 18.

Dr. Burns, who was also the USF Health senior associate vice president, passed away on Sept. 21. She was 77.

USF leaders, local officials, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends came together to remember Dr. Burns and her tremendous impact on College of Nursing, USF Health and USF. During the ceremony many whose lives she touched honored her career, life and legacy.


USF Nursing Interim Dean Donna Petersen highlighted Dr. Burns’ life and career during opening remarks.

“Dr. Burns was an extraordinary leader, a true friend and colleague,” said Donna Petersen, ScD, CPH, interim dean of the College of Nursing, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF College of Public Health, during her opening remarks. “She was a champion for USF Nursing, students, faculty and staff. She was the people’s dean.”

Guest speakers joining Dr. Petersen in remembering Dr. Burns included Betty Castor, former president of the USF System; Charles Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine; U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; and others.

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