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Alumni Association honors key alumni

Celebrating the work of four alumni

On September 5, the College of Nursing Alumni Association honored four alumni at their awards luncheon. Jean Watson, BS ’64, MS ’66, PhD ’73, AHN-C, FAAN, received the Pathfinder Award; Kathy Magilvy, the Lifetime Achievement Award; Sue Hagedorn, PhD ’95, RN, PNP, WHNP, FAANP, the Distinguished Alumni Award; and Clare Sandekian, MS ’69, RN, CNS, CAC III, the Distinguished Service Award.

Jean Watson

The Pathfinders Award honors nurses who have bettered the profession and patient care by forging pathways and overcoming barriers, or by creating pathways through the development of exemplary programs, theories or innovations. Throughout her career at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, Watson has done both.

Watson came to the College of Nursing in the early 1960s as a nurse pursuing her bachelor’s degree and progressing on to graduate degrees. After graduating with a PhD in educational psychology and counseling in 1973. She began teaching in the college in the early 70s, progressing from faculty roles to undergraduate assistant dean, associate dean for graduate programs and finally dean. During her career she helped establish the school’s first doctoral program, a PhD in nursing, and in the late 1980s, the first clinical doctorate, the ND, which was the predecessor to today’s DNP program. Watson also developed the caring science theory and Caritas Processes™ which have created pathways for nurses to care for themselves and their patients in more meaningful ways. She has pushed toward innovation in research and education for nurses during times when the profession was reluctant to change.

Kathy Magilvy

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors alumni who are recognized for their contributions to improving the quality of life and impact on the health care system as educators, clinicians or facilitator/administrators.

Kathy Magilvy began as an instructor of public health nursing at University of Colorado School of Nursing in 1975. When the school started a PhD program in 1978, Kathy became one of its first PhD students, graduating in 1982. During her doctoral program, she studied gerontology and psychosocial nursing and discovered a love for qualitative research and ethnography. Her doctoral dissertation combined quantitative and qualitative methods to research aging and hearing loss, an interest sparked by a deaf cousin who taught at Galludet University. After earning her PhD, Kathy rejoined the faculty as an assistant professor, serving as a faculty nurse researcher in the new school’s Center for Nursing Research (now the Center for Nursing Research and Scholarship) as a nursing research liaison with the VA.

In the years that followed, Magilvy held a number of academic and administrative roles including PhD program director, assistant dean for graduate programs and associate dean for academic programs. Over the years, she taught in all four programs—bachelor’s, master’s, doctor of nursing practice, and PhD, progressing up the academic ladder to full professor. She mentored and shepherded hundreds of students through their programs. Kathy has also been active as an international scholar. Over the past 15 years, she has made numerous visits to Japan to lecture, conduct collaborative research, and consult at several prominent universities. Magilvy’s career-long commitment to nursing education and research earns her the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sue Hagedorn

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an alum who has made significant contributions to nursing on a local, national or international level or who has made significant contributions to the college, either financially or in time and effort.

Sue Hagedorn has made a career of challenging the norm. In her nursing bachelor’s program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hagedorn successfully led a campaign to ban the traditional blue striped dress as nursing uniforms. While finishing her doctorate at the University of Colorado School of Nursing, she directed the Partnership in Prevention, a long-term mentoring program for at-risk adolescents and, while on faculty, established other faculty practices for at-risk or underserved populations. Her doctoral thesis was titled “No more fears: activist nursing inquiry.”

After retiring from faculty as associate professor in 2006, Hagedorn pursued her interest in film and media studies, earning a graduate certificate in documentary studies in 2008 and a master’s in media studies in 2010 from The New School in New York City. This second career has allowed her to take advocacy to a whole new level. As she puts it, there’s a critical need for “media-savvy nurses and nurse-savvy media.” Her company, Seedworks Films, has produced more than 20 films on nursing and social justice, including a history of the CU College of Nursing called “Legacy of Innovation: A History of the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Hagedorn’s leadership in nursing education and practice, philanthropy, advocacy and social justice, earns her the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Claire Sandekian

Clare Sandekian came to Denver in the 1960s with a background as a psychiatric nursing instructor and a member of the US Army Nurse Corps Reserve. Sandekian was recruited by the Director of the Colorado Psychiatric Hospital to be the Associate Director of Nursing, the highest position in the hospital for a nurse. While working, Clare enrolled in the graduate school at the University of Colorado School of Nursing to earn a master’s in psychiatric nursing, which she received in 1969.

Throughout her positions in Colorado, Sandekian also served in the Army Nurse Corps Reserve, where she was activated several times to assist with Colorado disasters and various other needs. She also served as the Army Reserve Chief Nurse at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, now known as Building 500 on the Anschutz campus.

In the 1990s, Sandekian became a board member of the CU School of Nursing Alumni Association. She served as president, and worked tirelessly on a variety of committees, and is still a member today. One of her projects was to get the Alumni Association board to establish a scholarship for alumni who wanted to continue their education. To do so, she made sure that there were adequate funds for these graduate scholarships and often added to the dollar amount when funds were short or when there were several deserving applicants. Last year, the alumni board voted to rename its fund the S. Clare Sandekian Scholarship. Sandekian’s vision, leadership, insight and support, have earned her the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award.