From the Desk of Dean Patricia Butterfield
With great sadness, I share with you the passing of Dean Emerita Thelma Cleveland on December 27, 2014.

Thelma ClevelandDr. Cleveland was the longest serving Dean of the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education (ICNE), now the Washington State University College of Nursing. Working collaboratively, Dr. Cleveland served the region through the advancement of the Center’s partnerships with Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, and Fort Wright College of the Holy Names.

When Dr. Cleveland came to the ICNE in 1970 as Assistant Professor and Curriculum Coordinator, classes were being taught in the Carnegie Library in downtown Spokane a humble beginning for the first consortium nursing school in the United States. During her more than 20 years at the ICNE, Dr. Cleveland served in a variety of leadership roles, eventually becoming Dean in 1982. At her retirement in 1997, the ICNE had grown to become one of the lead­ing nursing education institutions in the country, with programs in five cities across Washington State. The Cleveland Visiting Scholar endowed program was created in 1997 to honor Dr. Cleveland’s years of dedicated service to Washington State University and ICNE, the community, and the nursing profession. The mission of the Cleveland Visiting Scholar Program is to provide opportunities for intensive exposure to premier national and international nurse and health care leaders who are set­ting the course for the future. These leaders help inform current and future health care professionals. Such exposure enriches the Washington State University Col­lege of Nursing’s academic offerings, stimulate faculty research, engage students, and enhance nursing practice.

Addendum by Dean Patricia Butterfield:

Dean Emerita Cleveland was many things to our university; a practical common-sense academic, a visionary proponent of distance education at a time when few others in academics understood its full societal potential, and a national thought leader in nursing education. I would ask you all to read Dean Emerita Cleveland’s obituary in detail; it is a fitting tribute to a woman who lived a life of service in our region and nation. While we lost her too soon, I cherish the memory of seeing her so vibrant and engaged at the Washington State University College of Nursing’s 45th Anniversary Celebration this fall. As you know, Thelma was a beautiful woman who would light up the room. She maintained a strong interest in the evolution and continued development of our College and University….and her words remained wise, thoughtful, and proactive until the end of her life. Our College, each of our campuses statewide, our science, and our nursing alumni throughout the world are richer because of the leadership of Dean Emerita Thelma Cleveland. We were blessed to have her.

Addendum by Dean Emerita Dorothy Detlor:

Dean Emerita Cleveland, as my immediate predecessor in the role of dean of the Washington State University College of Nursing (previously the ICNE), effectively laid a strong foundation for the continued development of nursing education, practice, and research in the Spokane community as well as in communities across the state of Washington. In addition to the details of her career as listed in her obituary, Dr. Cleveland left a significant legacy through her role in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), representing this college at the national level. She also served effectively on the AACN committee that developed and brought forth a plan for the establishment of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) which is, today, the US Department of Education approved national accrediting body for baccalaureate and higher degree programs in nursing.

It was a privilege to follow in Dr. Cleveland’s footsteps, and to continue, expand and build upon the efforts that she began and the goals she had visualized. Although retired, she continued as a role model, a mentor, a consultant and a friend to me and to many in the communities we served. She will be greatly missed.

Patricia Butterfield, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor

Dorothy Detlor, PhD, RN
Dean Emerita

If you would like to give to the Thelma Cleveland Visiting Scholar fund, please visit the Give to WSU website.