Professor Emeritus Dr. Sarah E. Boyd, Advocate for Minority Nurses, Passes Away
Former USF Professor Emeritus Sarah E. Boyd, a long-time nurse educator who was passionate about recruiting minority nursing students and taught at the College of Nursing for 17 years, passed away last month. She was 90.
Dr. Boyd, EdD, MPS, RN, retired from USF in 1994 and was conferred with an emeritus status, which recognized her honorable and extraordinary service to the university. She continued at the nursing college on a part-time basis through 2001.
In a story about her impending retirement in late 1993, Dr. Boyd told a local newspaper that wherever she went, she tried to inspire minority youths to pursue higher education and, in particular, a nursing career.
“As I have climbed, I have tried to lift,” she said at the time. “There is a drive in me to see that more minorities are educated — no matter the profession.”
Dr. Boyd was the fourth of 14 children born to homemaker Beulah Johnson and coal miner Jessie Johnson in Birmingham, Ala. In 1947, after high school, she moved to Detroit, Mich., where she worked at Parkside Hospital as a nurse’s aide. That job led to her interest in nursing, and she continued her education at Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York City.
After graduation in 1952, she worked at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where her career led her to work with and care for infants and children at various hospitals. While working for the New York City Department of Health, she provided health care for many infants and children in their homes.
In 1957, Dr. Boyd attended Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. In 1969, she earned her master’s degree from Adelphi University and, after graduation, took a job as a clinical consultant at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The following year, she became an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. In 1977, she earned a second master’s degree in public service from C. W. Post College. Later, she earned a doctorate in higher education in 1985.
When she moved to Tampa in 1977 to become an assistant professor at USF, she started the Christian Nurses Association, handled recruitment for the nursing college, and wrote grants for community outreach programs.
Dr. Boyd also helped form the Minority Nurses Association, where she served as president for 10 years, and worked to enroll minority nurses, raise money for scholarships, and tutor students preparing to take state board exams. She received a USF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1987.
In 1991, she helped establish the College of Nursing Minority Advisory Board, composed of faculty and community members who helped recruit and retain minority students.
Since its inception, the USF Foundation’s Sarah E. Boyd Scholarship for Minorities in Nursing has awarded grants to 14 African-American nursing students who demonstrate a compassion for nursing.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing