Gift Establishes Endowed Chair in the University of Utah College of Nursing

Gift Establishes Endowed Chair in the University of Utah College of Nursing

Oct 24, 2008 3:00 PM

October 24, 2008 (Salt Lake City) – At an evening celebration yesterday the University of Utah College of Nursing celebrated a $1 million gift to create the Robert S. and Beth M. Carter Endowed Chair in the College of Nursing. The event to honor the donors and the named chair holder was hosted by Stephen Warner, associate vice president for health sciences development at the University of Utah and Maureen Keefe, RN, PhD, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing.  The Robert S. and Beth M. Carter Endowed Chair in the College of Nursing was created by Robyn and Thomas Carter, in memory of their late parents.

“Our parents were exemplary advocates for the University of Utah Health Sciences, giving much of their time and means to further its causes,” said Thomas Carter.  “In particular our father placed great value on the contributions nurses make to medical research, academics and critical needs. This chair will be a fitting tribute to our parents’ lives, their examples, their kindness and their generosity.”

Robert (Bob) Carter grew up on a ranch in Nevada where at an early age he learned the value of hard work. At 18, he left home to attend the University of Utah, where he met his sweetheart, Beth, a native of Springville, Utah. Drawn to each other by their similar backgrounds and common values Bob and Beth were wed in 1941. Together they built a successful trucking business - IML Freight – raised their two children and created a life of giving to those in need. Beth Mendenhall Carter died on December 7, 1997. The following year Bob established the Beth M. Carter Endowed Scholarship Fund in the College of Nursing in her memory.   Upon the death of their father on January 23, 2006, Robyn and Thomas Carter chose the College of Nursing to continue their parents’ legacy of helping others.

“This gift is a fitting tribute to the family’s appreciation of and commitment to the human side of health care and the critical role that nurses play,” said Keefe.  “The Robert S. and Beth M. Carter Endowed Chair in the College of Nursing will benefit the people of Utah and the intermountain region for many generations.”

The evening’s ceremony recognized Susan Larsen Beck, PhD, APRN, FAAN as the inaugural chair holder.  Dr. Beck is a professor at the University of Utah College of Nursing where she teaches in the doctoral program. With more than 25 years of experience as an advanced practice oncology nurse, Dr. Beck's research interests include the management of symptoms in cancer patients and organizational interventions to improve care.

“We conducted an extensive, national search and did not find a more accomplished, productive and deserving individual,” said Keefe of Dr. Beck’s appointment. “This is a well-deserved honor and tribute to Dr. Beck for the incredible body of work she has produced and the many contributions she has made to the field of nursing.”

Dr. Beck served as Project Director for the University Hospital’s Program to Improve Patient Care from 1989 through 1995. In 1996, she was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pretoria in South Africa where she conducted multiple studies related to cancer pain management. She currently is a principal investigator of a multi-site clinical trial of a nursing intervention to mitigate cancer treatment-related symptoms in older men with prostate cancer.  She also leads a study to develop a tool to measure the quality of nursing and interdisciplinary care related to pain management.

Dr. Beck served as President of Cancer Pain Relief-Utah and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Partnership to Improve End-of-Life-Care in Utah. She led the implementation of the first Leadership Development Institute of the Oncology Nursing Society and was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives.  She received the Oncology Nursing Society Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and the University of Utah Distinguished Doctoral Student Mentor Award in 2007.

Endowed chairs often help colleges attract and recruit new faculty as well as retain strong faculty.  As the nation faces a critical nursing shortage–Utah ranks third in the nation for its severity, according to Keefe–endowed funds help the College of Nursing prepare more nursing faculty, and thus more nurses for Utah’s hospitals and health care facilities.  The Robert S. and Beth M. Carter Endowed Chair becomes the College’s sixth endowed chair.

“In the case of Dr. Beck, her national reputation and expertise made her the target of many attractive offers to leave Utah,” said Keefe.  “Through this gift the University of Utah–and our community–will continue to benefit from Dr. Beck’s scholarly pursuits to improve the quality of care and quality of life for individuals and their families.”

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Media Contacts

Katie Schrier
College of Nursing
Phone: 801-581-8919

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