Kevin Velez and Debbie Layman unveil Dr. Marion's official portrait.

Official portrait unveiled for Dean Emerita Lucy Marion

Augusta University’s College of Nursing hosted a reception in the lobby of the Health Sciences Building honoring the professional legacy of Dean Emerita Lucy Marion, PhD, who passed away in April of this year following a battle with cancer. Marion, the longest serving dean of the College of Nursing before retiring in 2019 after 15 years, served as a nurse for 52 years and a professor for 35 years.

An alumna of the University of South Carolina and the University of Illinois, Marion not only spearheaded the first Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the state but also opened the Nurse-Managed Health Center. She was the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Service to NONPF Award and an inaugural inductee to the Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame in 2022.

“(She believed) that education was the ticket forward in everyone’s life.”

Pamela Cromer, DNP, director of Costa Layman International Outreach and the Healthy Grandparents Program and a professor for the College of Nursing

The reception honoring Marion’s legacy began with an opening from Debbie Layman, the founder and former owner of Costa Layman Farms and co-chair of the Augusta University Foundation.

“Lucy was a woman with strong opinions. You never failed to understand where you stood with her opinions,” Layman said.

She added that Dean Marion’s thoughts and opinions helped shape many of those with whom she worked and led. Following the welcome, she introduced guest speakers who reflected on the many professional contributions of Marion at Augusta University and its Medical College of Georgia.

“(She believed) that education was the ticket forward in everyone’s life,” said Pamela Cromer, DNP, director of Costa Layman International Outreach and the Healthy Grandparents Program and a professor for the College of Nursing.

Allen Edmunds, director of business operations for the Office of the Provost, spoke on the Ever Onward Award, named after Marion’s very own catchphrase.

“This award will be presented at the annual BSN White Coat Ceremony, which Lucy started just shortly after becoming the dean,” he said. “The endowment will sponsor the purchasing of white coats for the BSN students.”

The memories and stories shared of Marion extended beyond just those at Augusta University.

Janie Heath, PhD, who served as dean and professor for the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing said, “This is Lucy, totally Lucy: Teach and serve students with excellence, nothing less. That’s a given.”

Lisa Wright Eichelberger, PhD, dean emerita of the College of Health at Clayton State University, shared many of the accomplishments, organizations and committees that Marion had been involved with over her professional career.

Vocalist Melissa Johnson, vice president of Enrollment Services and Marketing at Gordon State College and a former employee of 10 years under Marion at the College of Nursing for Augusta University, closed out the ceremony with a moving rendition of I Try, a favorite of Marion’s.

Executive Vice President of Administration and External Relations and Chief of Staff, Russell Keen, EdD, offered special remarks prior to the official portrait unveiling.

Keen spoke on his memories of Marion, saying, “There was a reverence and respect for the work she had done.”

Following the ceremony, those gathered had an opportunity to share their own memories and experiences of Marion with each other. They were also able to view two dedications to Marion – her portrait and a picture of the tree that has been named in her honor, located outside the Nurse-Managed Health Center.

Marion was a pillar not only in the College of Nursing, but also in the nursing profession, the community of Augusta University and beyond. Her impact can be felt in the programs and institutions she helped create and her legacy is carried on by those she mentored and influenced.

Her dedication, professionalism and kindness will echo through Augusta University’s College of Nursing for years to come.

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Written by
Nina Siso
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Written by Nina Siso

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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