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Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine Will Speak at U.Va.’s Fall Convocation Sept. 27

UPDATED, Sept. 24, 2013 at 8:45 a.m., to removed outdated references.

Dorrie Fontaine, dean of the School of Nursing, will speak at the University of Virginia’s annual Fall Convocation, to be held Friday at 2 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena.

The ceremony will include the awarding of Intermediate Honors to the top 20 percent of undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 hours of course work in their first two years. Also, two members of the University community will receive the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest honor given by the University. Fall Convocation traditionally kicks off Family Weekend.

The Public Occasions Subcommittee of the Commencement and Convocations Committee each year provides the president with a list of potential speakers for Fall Convocation.

“It’s an honor, and quite humbling, to be chosen to address this important group,” Fontaine said.  “We nurses understand the value of ceremony and celebration, and Fall Convocation gives us a chance to applaud the scholarly achievements of our very best and brightest. I am pleased and eager to offer this official autumn salute to such an important crowd of students – and to have the opportunity to give a warm welcome to their families, friends and loved ones, too.”

Fontaine came to U.Va. as dean in 2008. She also is the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing and associate chief nursing officer at the U.Va. Health System. During her tenure here, she has implemented an interdisciplinary process to create a transformational model to provide compassionate end-of-life care across the health care spectrum. In addition, she has been a strong advocate for inter-professional education, engaging medical and nursing students in collaboration with the dean of the School of Medicine.

Prior to her appointment at U.Va., Fontaine was associate dean for academic programs and clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Previously, she held associate dean positions and taught at the Georgetown University School of Nursing. 

In 2003-04, she served as president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. That association recognized her contributions with its Lifetime Member Award. 

Fontaine was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 1995, has received the Presidential Citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society.  Her alma mater, Villanova University, honored her with a Medallion for Contributions to the Profession in 1999.

Fontaine received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Villanova; a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, where she is a Distinguished Alumna; and her Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 2006, she completed a Management and Leadership in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate Institute of Higher Education.

In August, Fontaine traveled to Bhutan with representatives from six other schools at the University. Together, they are working to integrate contemplative practices into their curricula. 

U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan invites all faculty members who are not in classes or meetings to participate in the academic procession and ceremony.

For information on Fall Convocation, visit the website of the Office of Major Events or call 434-982-3099.

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