Linda Opdyke, MSN, RN was named UNC Charlotte’s 1st Distinguished Nursing Alumni by the University’s School of Nursing Alumni Chapter. The announcement was made today by Dona Haney, Chapter President and Class of ’69 ’75 at the Chapter’s inaugural event on Healthcare Reform: Implications for Health and Wellness held February 9th. The Distinguished Nursing Alumni award is bestowed upon an alum who has made outstanding contributions to the School of Nursing, and or recognized for exceptional achievement at the national, state or local levels.
Opdyke, who graduated in 1984, was in the first class that completed UNC-Charlotte’s MSN program. Classmates remember her as playing an instrumental role in advocating for the program. Letter-writing and ad campaigns were only a few strategies used by Opdyke and others to help bring a MSN program to UNC Charlotte.
Haney said: “Opdyke, throughout her career, has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in nursing education and is well deserving of this award.” Opdyke, before her retirement in 2009, was the Associate Dean of Nursing at Mercy School of Nursing at Carolinas Medical Center. For 32 years at Mercy, Opdyke excelled as a nurse educator and advocate. Appointments included, the NC Board of Nursing, National League for Nursing, and North Carolina Access to Health Care Task Force on Nursing.
Opdyke has presented over 70 presentations to professional, civic and faith groups on topics related to ethical decision-making, moral distress, child protection, test construction, program evaluation, end of life care and patient-centered care. Her awards are many including, two grants from the Duke Endowment for two studies on nurse retention, selection to The Great 100, recipient of the Pinnacle Award at Carolinas HealthCare System, and Sigma Theta Tau’s Service Achievement award.
Since retirement, Opdyke continues to use her expertise of nursing education as she has been involved in supporting the development of the State Medical Assistance Team/ Medical Reserve Corp. She also volunteers as the Curator for the history museum at CMC-Mercy hospital. Opdyke is Ruling Elder at her church and has served or chaired committees on Child Protection, Stewardship, Worship and the Wedding Committee.
“Selection was difficult this year due to the many wonderful and outstanding nominees” says Baldwin, Associate Dean and Director of the School of Nursing. Baldwin said, “I am delighted that the School of Nursing Alumni Chapter decided to recognize its alums in this very special way. UNC Charlotte has a strong tradition of producing exceptional and high quality graduates who are making a difference in healthcare and improving the lives of others.”
Images (from the top of page):
1. From left: Dr. Dee Baldwin, Assoc. Dean and Director, SON, Linda Opdyke, recipient, and Dona Haney, Alumni Chapter President, at award ceremony.
2. Counter-clockwise from right: Linda Opdyke, her daughter and grandchildren, and her mother, Mrs. Colvard (widow of former Dean Colvard).
3. From left: Dona Haney, Alumni Chapter President, and Linda Opdyke, award recipient