Former professor pays it forward

Dr. Karyn Holm (right) with Mi Ja Kim and Mitzi Duxbury.
Dr. Karyn Holm and her late husband Terrance
Dr. Karyn Holm and her late husband, Terrance.

Dr. Karyn Holm, former UIC College of Nursing professor, has donated $1 million to create the Terrance and Karyn Holm Endowed Professorship Fund and the Terrance and Karyn Holm Unrestricted Research Center Program Fund to support the college’s Midwest Nursing History Research Center (MNHRC). She and her late husband, Terrance, previously created the Terrance and Karyn Holm Endowed Visiting Scholar Award in honor of their parents, Robert and Kathryn McGaghie and Ernest and Dorothy Holm.

“The University of Illinois Chicago is where I grew up in academic nursing and where I achieved rank and tenure. This was instrumental to my career,” said Dr. Holm. With these gifts, Dr. Holm wants to memorialize her husband, “Terry,” the love of her life, who never ceased to wholeheartedly support her and her work.

Dr. Holm‘s mother served as a Red Cross volunteer nurse’s aide at Cook County Hospital during World War II. This fact, and a cherished photo of her from that time, influenced Dr. Holm’s decision to pursue a career in health care and ultimately nursing. After Dr. Holm earned her Ph.D. in statistics and methods, a network of nurse leaders recruited her to UIC’s College of Nursing. She stayed for 12 years, ultimately serving as associate dean for nursing practice under two renowned deans of the college, Mitzi Duxbury and Mi Ja Kim.

“I’ll always be thankful for those at UIC who saw something in me and created the space for me to grow, publish my dissertation and build a research program,” Dr. Holm said. “I have to acknowledge Carolyn Carlson, the department head of medical-surgical nursing, and then faculty members Marjorie Powers and Mi Ja Kim, who were instrumental in recruiting me to UIC. I also must acknowledge Professor Susan Dudas who sparked my interest in history, my faculty peers and my students. My University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics coworkers were influential as well, including Mary Sheehan, director of nursing; Laurie Whitney, associate director of nursing; and the clinical directors Jan Spunt, June Matassic, June Jablonski, Jan Baldwin and Cynthia Barnes-Boyd.”

Dr. Holm’s vision for this contribution is to help promote nursing history research and elevate the national status and visibility of the MNHRC within the nursing and health care communities locally and around the world. The professorship will fund a scholar whose work in the history of nursing will not only create historical analysis from which to move the science forward, but also attract new scholars to history. In addition, the Research Center Program Fund will help share the importance of nursing history broadly so those within the college and outside nurse scholars, practicing nurses and the public at large can learn about and appreciate the contributions nursing has made to caring for people and communities over the years.

“Dr. Holm helped build and sustain UIC Nursing’s national research reputation, and her gift will increase the visibility and prestige of the MNHRC and shine a national spotlight on our work,” said Terri E. Weaver, dean of the College of Nursing. “Karyn is a diligent advocate and enthusiastic volunteer. We cannot thank Terry and Karyn enough for their kindness, generosity and faith in our college.”

“Nurses serve on the front lines of and are vital to a rapidly changing health care system,” said Tom Wamsley, vice chancellor for advancement. “Dr. Holm’s gift not only supports the College of Nursing’s goal to broaden its collective of forward thinkers dedicated to shaping the future of health care; it also affirms the IGNITE campaign’s mission to drive discovery and empower faculty leaders. UIC is tremendously grateful for her passion, generosity and advocacy.”

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