- Ada, Oklahoma


May 1, 2013

Distinguished awards to be presented


Ada —

Dr. Tawfik Ramadan provides campus health services for ECU students. Siham and three of their daughters are ECU graduates.

The Distinguished Former Faculty Award (posthumous) will go to Dr. Elizabeth Schmelling, who came to ECU in 1975 as the lead instructor for the Nursing Department’s courses in community health and mental health nursing, with 15 years of public health nursing in Massachusetts, California and New York. She rose through the ranks to become a full professor, and in 1983, was appointed Chair of ECU’s Department of Nursing.

Schmelling brought to her chairmanship of the nursing department the belief that ECU could have a baccalaureate nursing program that would equal any other baccalaureate program in the nation. By the time she retired in 2002, Schmelling and the rest of the nursing faculty had accomplished this goal.

Her work on creating a first-rate program began with first-rate faculty and first-rate facilities. Schmelling worked hard to find ways to make it possible for many of her faculty to complete doctoral degrees - finding grant funds, adjusting schedules, and anything else she could think of to help them through. She also led her faculty in getting grants to supplement state funds to build first-class nursing labs on campus to give ECU students the preparation and confidence they needed to go out to off-campus clinical facilities.

Schmelling and the ECU administration shared the recognition that the need for bachelors-prepared nurses throughout Southeastern Oklahoma was an opportunity to expand the nursing program beyond the ECU campus. Her work and leadership, along with that of several other ECU nursing faculty and administrators, led to the creation of ECU Nursing Program in Durant and Ardmore.



She was a long-time program evaluator/site visitor for the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, the primary accrediting agency for nursing education in the U.S. and was a member and chair of the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing.

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