Putting patients first

mary hall class of 1952 emory nursingMary Hall, seated in the front row, celebrated with former students from the Class of 1952 during Reunion Weekend last fall.

  mary hall

Mary Hall

Mary Hall 49N 62MN 83PhD, a longtime School of Nursing educator and administrator, died on May 6, 2013, at Emory University Hospital.

Hall, 86, was a public health nurse first and foremost. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she taught at the nursing school for a year and then worked locally as a public health nurse for Fulton County. Her two young sons often waited in the car when she made home visits and, in the process, learned valuable lessons about caring for others with little or no access to health care.

In 1962, Hall rejoined the nursing school faculty to expand the public health nursing curriculum. She helped launch a partnership with the DeKalb County Board of Health and secured a grant to fund several community-based clinics. She also secured funding to establish nurse practitioner programs in occupational health and family practice and set the criteria for the dual master’s degree in nursing and public health.

After completing a PhD in public health policy at Emory, Hall served as interim dean of the nursing school from 1985 to 1986. When she retired in 1990, she had attained the rank of professor and chaired the Division of Community Health Nursing. Hall then took a job coordinating the Children First Program for the College Point/East Point region of the Fulton County Health Department. The role suited her as a lifelong resident of East Point and as a visiting nurse committed to helping mothers and families care for high-risk infants in their homes. She remained with the Fulton County Health Department for more than 15 years.

"The far-reaching impact you can have as a public health nurse has always been my motivation," Hall once said. "I’ve just recycled myself."

Hall received several honors during her career. She was the first recipient of the Silver Bowl Award, established in 1949 by the late Nell Hodgson Woodruff to honor a graduating senior. In 1986, the Nurses’ Alumni Association presented Hall with its Award of Honor. During Reunion Weekend last fall, the Class of 1952 made a $4,000 gift to the Emeritus Faculty Scholarship Fund to honor Hall and fellow classmates who had died.

Betty Marie Stewart 52N was among the first students taught by Hall and Elizabeth Mabry EdD RN, head of nursing arts. "Mary was not much older than we were, but she handled it well," Stewart remembers. "She had a professional demeanor and an ability to put the patient first. It made us better nurses, and our patients got better care."

Hall is survived by sons David and Danny, their wives, and two grandchildren.—Pam Auchmutey


Honoring Retired Faculty

Memorial gifts honoring Mary Hall may be made to the Emeritus Faculty Scholarship Fund. Gifts may be sent to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, 1520 Clifton Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30322. To learn more, please contact Betsy Oliver, senior associate director of development, at 404-727-5291 or betsy.oliver@emory.edu.


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