Dean leaves lasting legacy at School of Nursing

After 22 years of dedicated leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing Dean Nancy F. Langston, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, ANEF, retired this summer. True to her philanthropic form, she will leave a lasting legacy through a generous $250,000 bequest to establish the Nancy F. Langston Professorship, which she hopes will help VCU recruit and retain the brightest and best faculty to the school.

Appointed in 1991, Langston transformed the VCU School of Nursing into a national leader in nursing education and research, said Sheldon M. Retchin, M.D., M.S.P.H. (H.S. '79), senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of the VCU Health System. She pioneered online offerings, an accelerated degree path and more focused and dynamic graduate programs.

Her efforts led to expanded student enrollment and created multiple longstanding partnerships both on and off campus to foster health and wellness in areas of great need.

"This bequest reflects my deep commitment to higher education," Langston said. "As I have moved through my career, I have consistently supported the university as part of my annual giving program. I believe in the importance of our work in advancing a better world, and I believe in the contributions of educated nurses within that better world."

While she will make a permanent difference with her planned gift, Langston left an indelible mark as dean, too.

"When Nancy Langston first arrived as dean of the VCU School of Nursing more than two decades ago, it was a good school that offered superb clinical training to its students," Retchin said. "However, during her 22-year tenure as dean, she has taken it from 'good' to 'great' by recruiting an outstanding faculty, building its research base and enhancing the school's academic programs."

Langston encourages her colleagues from across the university to join her in support of the work of their school or department.

"It is not possible for this or any university to achieve greatness and distinction simply with funds from state dollars. We give of our time and our talents to advance the work of universities; we should also give of our financial resources," she said. "When we give to our programs it demonstrates to others outside the academy that we believe what we do is worthy of philanthropic support — our actions speak loudly."

To learn more about the School of Nursing, contact Kelly Gotschalk (B.F.A. '90; M.A. '97), director of annual giving and alumni engagement, at (804) 828-2993 or