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December 13, 2004

Josephine Dolan, Nursing School’s
First Instructor, Dies at Age 91

Josephine A. Dolan, professor emeritus of nursing, died Dec. 4 at age 91.

Dolan, of Westborough, Mass., joined the UConn faculty in 1944. She was the first instructor in the School of Nursing, where she taught for more than 35 years.

Dolan was a nurse historian who built a national reputation through the quality of her contributions to nursing education and scholarship. She was the author of the history text about nursing in society.

Laura Dzurec, dean of the School of Nursing, was one of Dolan’s students. “Being in the presence of Josephine Dolan always inspired me,” Dzurec says. “The effect she had on us as students was powerful and kind. Each year when our reunion classes return to campus, they give testimony about how Jo deeply changed their lives.”

Dzurec added, “She integrated many of us over the years into nursing, helping us to learn why we had chosen this challenging path. We are deeply saddened by Jo’s passing, knowing still that she died as she lived, with quiet dignity and choice. I will miss her, as will all of us who knew her well.”

Eleanor Herrmann, a professor emerita of nursing, says Dolan “inspired many to attain greater achievements in academia and in the nursing profession.”

Her impact will continue to be felt through her donation of her extensive collection of nursing history documents to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and her unparalleled collection of nursing history artifacts to the Josephine A. Dolan Room in the School of Nursing,
Herrmann says.

Dolan received her initial education in nursing from St. John’s Hospital, Lowell, Mass., receiving a diploma in 1935. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Boston University in 1942, and her master’s from there in 1950.

Throughout her career, Dolan was an outspoken advocate for promoting, preserving, and teaching nursing history. She was an active member of the University community and served on many University committees.

The University established the Museum of Nursing History in her name, using her collection of nursing artifacts, books, and documents. In 2003, a former student established a nursing school in Katmandu, Nepal, naming it the Josephine A. Dolan School of Nursing.

Dolan was a member of the Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing (1951-56); the Connecticut League for Nursing, serving on its board of directors (1964-67, 1977-79) and as its president (1967-69); the Connecticut Nurses Association, serving on its board of directors (1960-62); the National League for Nursing, serving on the board of directors (1969-72); and Sigma Theta Tau, the national honor society of nursing, serving as national chair of the nominating committee (1977-80) and president of the Mu Chapter at UConn (1962-65).

Dolan is survived by her brother, Thomas Dolan and his wife, Claire. A sister, Mary, died in 1983.