Elizabeth Kemble Alumni Awards

The Elizabeth Kemble Nursing Alumni Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the College of Nursing, recognizes the college's notable alumni achievements in research, practice and leadership.

Elizabeth Kemble Alumin Awards recipients 2023

Elizabeth Kemble Alumni Awards | 2023 Recipients

Nominate a Nursing Alumna/Alumnus

Do you know a nursing alumna/alumnus who has gone above and beyond in nursing research, practice or leadership? Nominate them for the Elizabeth Kemble Alumni Nursing Award by January 31, 2025.

Honorees will be celebrated during the college's annual Pinning Ceremony.

2024 Honorees

Gail Bagwell

Gail Bagwell DNP, APRN, CNS, FNAP, FAAN, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) Neonatal Network and Clinical Instructor at Ohio State University College of Nursing.

Bagwell's work in safe sleep for neonates at the local, state and national levels has helped improve the National Association of Neonatal Nurses Safe Sleep Guidelines.  She served on the National Association of Neonatal Nurses Board of Directors from 2015 to 2023 as a Director at Large, President of the organization and has co-chaired committees at NCH, at the state and national level to improve neonatal health with interprofessional colleagues and worked with an interdisciplinary team to develop a NICU in Guyana. 


Felicia Beckham, MSN, FNP-BC, is an experienced Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She is a native Cincinnatian and proud graduate of Cincinnati Public Schools, Hughes Center High School. She is the co-author of the nationally recognized manuscript “Transitioning from Insulin to Dipeptidyl-Peptidase 4 (DPP-4) Inhibitors for Type 2 Diabetes” and was selected to present the manuscript at the 2nd Annual International Nursing Conference in Paris, France in 2022. She currently works at Episcopal Retirement Homes as their Director of Clinical Nursing and Community Impact and is the founder and president of Cincinnati's Black Nurse Practioner Network.

Myrna Little

Myrna Kay Little, DNP, MEd, RN, GERO-BC, an assistant professor of clinical at the UC College of Nursing, her passion for the profession of nursing has led her from bedside caregiving, nursing administration, to her role of inspiring future nurses as a nursing professor.

Little applies innovative practices in her work to enhance student resiliency and success. She is active in underserved communities, promoting healthcare access and care coordination for older adults and other vulnerable populations and serves on the governance committee for Sigma Theta Tau International-Beta Iota Chapter and the Ohio League of Nursing.

Becky Miars

Becky Miars, RN, BSN, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing with a BSN in 1971. There she met Dr. Marquerite “Mike” Bozian, the public health nurse instructor, igniting a love of public health.

Miars joined the Cincinnati Health Department, as field and night clinic nurse and worked at the Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing, developing their community nursing curriculum. She volunteers in the community assisting refugees and immigrants through Heartfelt Tidbits and finds ways to promote good management through many different community group roles. 

Kathy Oliphant

Throughout her career, Kathy Oliphant, DNP, RN, CNL, NEA-BC, has always been passionate about improving all aspects of patient care. Her experience includes clinical and administrative leadership positions in healthcare systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, ambulatory settings and as a consultant. During Oliphant’s 26-year tenure at the Cleveland Clinic health system, she was always open to new opportunities and loved knowing that as a leader she could advocate for patients, families, and the needs of nursing staff. Oliphant is a proud graduate of the MSN program that she now directs.

She is passionate about implementing a holistic approach to improving outcomes for patients across the care continuum and feels thankful for the opportunity to assist others in the journey to becoming a well-prepared nurse leader.

Previous Honorees

  • Deasa Dorsey '10
  • Leslie Evers '71, '75
  • Tammy Lockhart '16
  • Susan Newell '21
  • Lu Ann Reed '96, '19
  • Ashlie Cramer '10
  • Heather Eckstein '12
  • Rachel Smith-Steinert '01, '07, '16

Who was Elizabeth Kemble?

Elizabeth Kemble and students

Elizabeth Kemble and students

As the founding dean of the UNC School of Nursing, UC alumni, and a Nursing trailblazer, Elizabeth Kemble dedicated her life to serving others. “There is no such thing as a menial task in caring for a human being,” Kemble once said.

After earning her nursing diploma in 1927 from UC, she earned a master’s in nursing and a doctorate in nursing education by 1948, a feat unheard of for a woman of her day.

At North Carolina, Kemble was given one year to hire faculty, develop a curriculum, oversee construction of the school of nursing building and dorms, find additional scholarship funding and recruit high school seniors to start the following fall. Her first class, in 1951, was made up of 27 women, a big deal for North Carolina which had only admitted female students as transfer students up to that point.

By the time the school celebrated its 10th anniversary, Kemble had guided it through the accreditation process for the bachelor’s  and master’s programs and enrollment had increased to 235 students.

Kemble’s work caught the eye of the U.S. Air Force, which brought her on as the national consultant to the surgeon general in 1959. She became the first professional nurse to be ranked a brigadier general. 

For questions, please reach out to Gage Woolley, program director for alumni engagement.