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Dean Emeritus Anne Boykin

Anne Boykin

The measure of the success from one’s life’s work is in what is left behind to improve the lives of others. Dean Anne Boykin has left behind an enduring legacy that will enhance the well-being of those who have been touched by the nurses she has inspired and influenced. For nearly 30 years, she was the face, heart and soul of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. The story of the College of Nursing began in 1979 when four local donors provided the start-up money necessary to develop a baccalaureate nursing program. This gift reflected their commitment to the highest level of health care for our community. The inaugural class consisted of 10 registered nurses seeking baccalaureate degrees. Dean Boykin joined FAU as a faculty member in 1981. One year later, she was asked to assume the role of Director of what was then the Division of Nursing housed within the College of Social Science. Under Dean Boykin’s leadership, this division moved to an autonomous school in 1989 and college in 1990. During her time as dean, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing earned national accreditation; established endowed eminent scholar chairs and professorships; established prestigious centers and institutes; and more.

Dean Boykin’s journey of nursing began at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis., where she earned her undergraduate degree. After several years of nursing practice, she decided to continue on the path of advancing her nursing education, earning a master’s degree at Emory University and, later, her doctorate at Vanderbilt University. Throughout her educational experiences, Dean Boykin often reflected on the fact that much of nursing’s content was drawn from other disciplines such as medicine and psychology. This educational experience drove her to ask the pivotal question “what is the content of the discipline of nursing?” It was this question that fueled Dean Boykin’s passion to discover the essence of nursing as a discipline. She believed that the focus of the study of nursing should be about living and practicing caring in order to understand what matters most to those who are nursed. Dean Boykin recalls the thrill of discovering Mayeroff’s book On Caring and exploring theories such as Paterson and Zderad’s Humanisitic Nursing, and Jean Watson’s Nursing: Human Science and Human Care with the pioneer faculty of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. The faculty began to dialogue with outstanding scholars such as Dr. Martha Rogers, Dr. Delores Gaut and Sister Simone Roach. These dialogues and continued exploration led to the exciting realization that there was a substantive disciplinary basis for the study of caring. It was realized that, in fact, caring was an essential domain of knowledge which needed to be studied. Dean Boykin remembers, “we were inspired and committed to the process of articulating the content of nursing and sharing with others nursing’s unique contributions to health care.” Today, the faculty of the College expresses a common dedication to caring as an essential domain of nursing knowledge: expanding the science, studying its meaning, practicing the art and living caring day to day. Dean Boykin’s vision of a home dedicated to the development of caring knowledge and the celebration of the nursing discipline was made possible by the committed support of Christine E. Lynn. In 2006, the College, bearing Christine E. Lynn’s name, moved into a home of its own. The 75,000-square-foot structure — with a gold LEED certification, the second-highest ranking possible, from the U.S. Green Building Council — was conscientiously designed and constructed to reflect the caring tradition of nursing, and to be sustainable and harmonious with the environment. This thoughtful dedication to nursing is reflected in the College logo, the Dance of Caring Persons. The dance concept comes from Dean Boykin’s co-authored book, Nursing as Caring: A Model for Transforming Practice. The etching, memorialized in an illustration on the floor in the lobby, serves as a literal and symbolic foundation for the College. It depicts a circle of dancers engaging in a celebration of caring- a celebration of the whole made possible by the unique contributions of each caring person joining the dance. This logo reminds all who enter the College of the importance of relating respectfully and valuing and honoring the uniqueness of others.

One faculty member stated, “Anne’s internalized understanding of caring as the essence of nursing and living was, and has always been, visible in her words and actions. For me, interactions with Anne produced an almost tactile feeling of being cared for without any direct contact.” Another stated, “There is an aura that surrounds her emanating love and valuing of the other. I feel embraced and loved by Anne when I am with her.” Dean Boykin’s journey is about a passionate commitment to the profession she loves. And although her time at the College came to an end, her commitment endures, and her journey to advance knowledge of caring and create caring environments in nursing practice settings is far from over. In the end, Dean Boykin’s accomplishments throughout her 30 years at the College are not about buildings, fundraising or recognition. Rather, her journey and associated accomplishments are about passionate commitment to the profession she loves. Her vision for excellence is about nurturing others and the ideas they express as their unique contribution to the exquisite Dance of Caring Persons.