Posted on Nov 18, 2016

USF celebrates the life of an inspirational nursing leader

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, highlights 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.”

Other guest speakers joined Dr. Petersen in remembering Dr. Burns including Betty Castor, former president of 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.


U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor talks about Dr. Burns’ nursing influence regionally and nationally

Dr. Burns served as dean of the USF College of Nursing from 1997 to 2010. She came to USF from the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY) to help transform the college into a national leader in research and education.

“We would not be where we are today without Dr. Burns’ extraordinary leadership and determination,” said Anne Phillips, MABS, chief operating officer and director of business affairs and technology for the USF College of Nursing, as she chocked up. “She always had us moving in the right direction. She was an inspiration to all of us.”


Phillips shares her memories with Dr. Burns and how she’s impacted her career

Among the guests was Dr. Burns’ husband, Stephen Scherman. He was moved by everyone’s support of her work and legacy.


Dr. Burns’ husband, Stephen Scherman, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor

“I’m humbled to know how much my wife meant to USF Nursing and everyone she’s worked with,” said Scherman. “She dedicated her life to students and this community. She was selfless. I am proud of everything she was able to accomplish.”


Former USF President, Betty Castor, and USF Nursing Media and Communications Director, Denise Passmore.

Read more:
In Memoriam: Patricia Burns, PhD

Story and photos by Vjollca Hysenlika, USF Nursing Communications