Donor supports nursing history with $1M gift

Karyn Holm dancing with her husband Terry
Mi Ja Kim, Mitzi Duxbury, Karyn Holm

Karyn Holm, PhD, FAAN, FAHA, former UIC Nursing professor, has donated $1 million to create the Terrance and Karyn Holm Endowed Professorship Fund and the Terrance and Karyn Holm Unrestricted Research Center Program Fund to support the college’s Midwest Nursing History Research Center (MNHRC). She and her late husband, Terrance, previously created the Terrance and Karyn Holm Endowed Visiting Scholar Award in honor of their parents, Robert and Kathryn McGaghie and Ernest and Dorothy Holm.

“The University of Illinois Chicago is where I grew up in academic nursing and where I achieved rank and tenure. This was instrumental to my career,” says Holm. With these gifts, she wants to memorialize her husband, “Terry,” the love of her life, who never ceased to wholeheartedly support her and her work.

Holm‘s mother served as a Red Cross volunteer nurse’s aide at Cook County Hospital during World War II. This fact, and a cherished photo of her from that time, influenced Holm’s decision to pursue a career in healthcare and ultimately nursing. After Holm earned her PhD in statistics and methods, a network of nurse leaders recruited her to UIC’s College of Nursing. She stayed for 12 years, ultimately serving as associate dean for nursing practice under two renowned deans of the college, Mitzi Duxbury and Mi Ja Kim.

“I’ll always be thankful for those at UIC who saw something in me and created the space for me to grow, publish my dissertation and build a research program,” Holm says. “I have to acknowledge Carolyn Carlson, the department head of medical-surgical nursing, and then-faculty members Marjorie Powers and Mi Ja Kim, who were instrumental in recruiting me to UIC. I also must acknowledge Professor Susan Dudas who sparked my interest in history, [and] my faculty peers and my students. My University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics coworkers were influential as well, including Mary Sheehan, director of nursing; Laurie Whitney, associate director of nursing; and then-clinical directors Jan Spunt, June Matassic, June Jablonski, Jan Baldwin and Cynthia Barnes-Boyd.”

Taking the long view

Scan of a photo of Karyn Holm's mother, Kathryn Petro McGaghie, from a 1943 manual for volunteer nurses' aides working with the Red Cross

Holm’s vision for this contribution is to help promote nursing history research and elevate the national status and visibility of the MNHRC within the nursing and healthcare communities, locally and around the world. The professorship will fund a scholar whose work in the history of nursing will not only create historical analysis from which to move the science forward, but also attract new scholars to history. In addition, the Research Center Program Fund will help share the importance of nursing history broadly so those within the college as well as  outside nurse scholars, practicing nurses and the public at large can learn about and appreciate the contributions nursing has made to caring for people and communities over the years.

“Dr. Holm helped build and sustain UIC Nursing’s national research reputation, and her gift will increase the visibility and prestige of the MNHRC and shine a national spotlight on our work,” says Dean Terri Weaver. “Karyn is a diligent advocate and enthusiastic volunteer. We cannot thank Terry and Karyn enough for their kindness, generosity and faith in our college.”

“Nurses serve on the front lines of and are vital to a rapidly changing healthcare system,” says Tom Wamsley, UIC’s vice chancellor for advancement. “Dr. Holm’s gift not only supports the College of Nursing’s goal to broaden its collective of forward-thinkers dedicated to shaping the future of healthcare; it also affirms the IGNITE campaign’s mission to drive discovery and empower faculty leaders. UIC is tremendously grateful for her passion, generosity and advocacy.”