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UConn Advance

Nursing room is a tribute filled with life
By David Pesci (February 28, 1997)

When a faculty member, student or staffer dies, friends often create a memorial scholarship. But the friends and colleagues of Sheila Packard wanted to do something different, something that would be filled with life.

The result of their efforts has been unveiled in the School of Nursing -- the Sheila A. Packard Doctoral Student Reading Room, a bright, comfortable tribute to Packard, an associate professor of nursing who died of cancer in 1995.

"We wanted something that really reflected who Sheila was," said Roberta Orne, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing. "She was just a wonderful woman, funny and bright, and yet a real scholar. We thought this room would be a great way to go on celebrating her life and her achievements."

The room is available to the School of Nursing's Ph.D. students. They have keys and can use it whenever they want. "I think Sheila would have really liked that because she was very instrumental in our efforts to create a doctorate program here," Orne said.

Located on the third floor of Storrs Hall, the Packard room is decorated in shades of green and white. A large quilt hangs on one wall by a oval conference table. Many of the quilt's squares are adorned with screened snapshots of Packard with family, friends and colleagues. Smiles dominate the photos. The other walls include Packard's degrees and citations and a print of Irish landscape.

"Sheila loved Ireland and her Irish heritage," Orne said. "And she was a great storyteller."

The room also has three computers, journals and scholarly books. There are soft couches and easy chairs to make for a warm and quiet feeling conducive to study or contemplation -- a fitting tribute to a scholar who loved life.

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