During commencement, the College of Nursing Alumni Association presents awards in up to three categories:
Irma Kyle Kramer Award for Academic Excellence
This award is presented to the student with the highest GPA on each campus.
Irma Kyle Kramer, RN, MS was the second director of nursing at the University of Nebraska. Initially she started her career as a school teacher, but she returned to school to pursue nursing. She was able to combine both her teaching and nursing backgrounds when she assumed her director role in 1946. Ms. Kramer’s administrative goal was to obtain accreditation for the nursing school. Recruitment of educationally prepared faculty, raising the school’s standards and changing the program from a diploma to a baccalaureate degree, led to accreditation in 1965. With this achievement accomplished, she resigned as director in 1966 after 20 years of service. Following a one-year sabbatical leave, she returned as director of continuing education for nursing until her retirement in 1972.
View a list of Irma Kyle Kramer Award Recipients
Rena Boyle Award for Excellence in Nursing Research
Rena E. Boyle, RN, PhD was the third director of the UNMC College of Nursing and held this position from 1967 to 1979. Her years as a nursing consultant and educator prepared her for the administrative role she held for 12 years and the changes she would implement. Under her guidance, the College expanded its student enrollment, initiated innovative programs and bolstered the reputation of the College as a progressive institution. During her tenure, Dr. Boyle assisted in the autonomous development of the nursing program with its designation as a College and its administrative separation from the College of Medicine. College expansion included the development of the Master’s program in 1968 and the off-campus program for outstate RNs in 1977. Responding to the nursing needs of the state and the distinctive educational needs of registered nurses, the College was the first to design and implement an articulated career ladder program for three levels of educational preparation during her administrative term. Dr. Boyle catalyzed a period of tremendous expansion for the College. She recognized and promoted the need for nursing research through the establishment of the Nursing Care Research Center in the College. Upon her retirement in 1979, she was named professor emeritus for her outstanding contributions. In 1980, she was the recipient of the College of Nursing’s Distinguished Service to Nursing Award. Dr. Boyle passed away in 2006.
View a list of Rena Boyle Award Recipients
Charlotte Burgess Award
This award is presented to the outstanding master's graduate from each campus.
Charlotte Burgess, RN became the first director of nursing at the University of Nebraska in 1917. She came to Omaha after three years of consultative service to the American Red Cross and six years as the director of education at the Illinois Training School for Nursing. In an era with few qualified nurses for such a position, the University was lucky to recruit such an ideally prepared administrator. When she came to Nebraska, Ms. Burgess faced the tremendous challenges of starting a new nursing program, including the recruitment of faculty and students. She also was responsible for opening the hospital, finding the nursing staff to work in it and establishing the classroom facilities for the nursing program. Over her 29 years of tenure, from 1917 to 1946, she built a firm foundation for the program. Always aware of trends in nursing, she strived to make the school reflective of these. The program started as a three-year diploma course but, as the professional character of nursing grew, it was expanded to include an optional baccalaureate degree with combined academic and professional courses. Ms. Burgess guided the nursing program from the beginning and through difficult times, including two world wars. As a true professional, she was active in organizations and committed to quality education in nursing. In 1940, she attempted to resign but remained in her position until a successor was found six years later.
View a list of Charlotte Burgess Award Recipients
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