Selected Speeches

On the School of Nursing's 125th Anniversary

April 18, 2015
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel


Good evening. First, let me say how disappointed I am that I can’t be with you in person to celebrate the School of Nursing’s 125th anniversary, and to honor the school’s Visionary Pioneers.

You have so much to celebrate, of course—not only how long you’ve served as a leader in nursing education, but the extraordinary distinction with which you’ve served.

To Dean Kirschling, to the faculty, staff, and students: I congratulate you on the many incredible honors you’ve earned this year. You’ve been recognized by your peers as one of the nation’s very best nursing schools: #6 in the country; two programs ranked #1; eight programs in the top 10. It’s a remarkable record of accomplishment.

But what we truly celebrate tonight is what these numbers represent: The people healed by your care. The practice shaped by your expertise. The knowledge created by your research.

In all of the missions that guide this University—in all of the goals that justify our daily work—the School of Nursing absolutely shines.

Your dedication to serving the under-served is a model—for the state and for the nation. You bring high-quality care into the communities that urgently need it—improving access and equity; improving the health of individuals and populations. Your body of research—from basic science to the bedside—creates the knowledge base that guides nursing practice, at home and abroad. And your commitment to the very best in education means that, each year, you graduate the nursing professionals who go on to shape the profession itself.

This is the legacy we commemorate tonight. This is the leadership we need. Because I truly believe it will be you, our nurses, in the vanguard—marshaling the evidence and the will we need to transform health care in service of the public good.

And so on behalf of all those made better by your ability, your advocacy, your compassion, and your leadership, I thank you.

And I’d like to end now on a personal note of thanks. I’ve worked closely with nurses and nurse practitioners my entire career. Looking back, I’ve had the enormous privilege of improving my own skills and professionalism by collaborating with the nurses who teach and who learn at this school. Many of you in the audience right now, and many of your colleagues with you in spirit, have made me a better doctor. I consider that a tremendous gift.

And so—for everything you’ve done for Maryland, for the University, and for me—I offer you my highest admiration and my deepest gratitude. Congratulations on 125 years of excellence!

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