Katherine Nugent

The Influence of Dr. Gerry Cadenhead Fletcher

Dr. FletcherLast month, the College of Nursing and USM family said good-bye to a former nursing dean.  Dr. Gerry Cadenhead Fletcher began her career at The University of Southern Mississippi in 1980 to serve as the Chair of the Baccalaureate program at Southern Miss.  She was named Dean of the College of Nursing in 1987 and served in that position until her retirement in 2001.   During her tenure at Southern Miss, Dr. Fletcher used her influence to advance the College of Nursing, foster professional development of faculty, and guide students in their careers.  After her retirement, Dr. Fletcher remained involved with the university, Mississippi nursing, and the Southern Miss Nursing program.

Gerry was a dynamic nursing leader, a true friend of Mississippi Nursing, an inspiration to students, and a positive and supportive friend to many.  Most important is that Gerry modeled for all of us the importance of being engaged in your university, your place of employment, your profession and to give back to those institutions that provided you with the opportunity to be successful and to make a difference.

Gerry will always be remembered for her influence on others.  As stated by one alumni and former USM nursing faculty, “Southern Miss and nursing have lost an irreplaceable and valuable treasure”.

Katherine Nugent
Dr. Nugent, who has served as the director of the School of Nursing and associate dean of the College of Health since 2004, was named dean in July 2012, when the School of Nursing was returned to its status as a College of Nursing. Dr. Nugent came to the University of Southern Mississippi from the Medical College of Nursing , now called Georgia Health Sciences University, where she was the executive associate Dean. Dr. Nugent has extensive experience in nursing education and in administration of nursing programs, having served in a variety of leadership positions at the University of Texas at Galveston, Clemson University and Georgia Health Sciences University. She has been active in state, regional, and national nursing organizations and will serve as the president of the Collegiate Nursing Education Council of the Southern Regional Education Board beginning in November 2012.

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