Last week, UNC Greensboro lost a beloved community member and esteemed leader of the School of Nursing, Dr. Robin Remsburg.
Many in the school had a personal connection with Remsburg and were inspired by her supportive nature, skillful leadership, dedication to nursing education, and her impressive accomplishments.
Remsburg earned her MSN from UNCG in 1982, after completing her bachelor’s of science in nursing degree at UNC Chapel Hill. Her areas of expertise were geriatrics and gerontology, long-term care, national surveys, and nursing education. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland and for 10 years held the gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist certification.
Before returning to UNCG, Remsburg held academic positions at the Eastern Kentucky University School of Nursing, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and School of Medicine, and the School of Nursing at George Mason University, where she was associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services. She was a past president of the National Gerontological Nursing Association (NGNA), a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the National Gerontological Nursing Association, and the Gerontological Society of America. She maintained an active presence in national initiatives to improve the care and well-being of older adults, such as the Advancing Excellence in Long-term Care Collaborative and the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign.
Remsburg became dean of the School of Nursing at UNCG in July 2013 and was the first alumna to serve in this role. As dean, she grew the program, increasing enrollment and implementing the Post-BSN and Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice program, expanding the RN/BSN program, and developing an accelerated Veterans Access Program for medically trained veterans to obtain their BSN degrees.
She also facilitated enhancements in the pre-license undergraduate curriculum and brought in new technology to support simulation and student learning experiences. She developed a new strategic plan that included strong initiatives and programs, and supported the nursing faculty in very visible, tangible ways. Remsburg helped to plan the Union Square Campus and the new Nursing and Instructional Building, the new home of the school, which will be open to students this coming spring.
She established three different gifts at UNCG: the Clinton William and Shirley Talbott Remsburg Endowed Scholarship in Nursing Fund in honor of her parents; the Deans’ Terrace Fund, to support the construction of a space in the Nursing and Instructional Building; and the Dean Robin E. Remsburg Nursing Habit of Excellence Award Fund, to recognize faculty members for their exceptional performance and contributions to the school, University, and profession.
Remsburg’s dedication to the UNCG School of Nursing was known by thousands of alumni, faculty, and community members. UNCG Magazine readers may remember a 2017 interview with Remsburg, and her words that ‒ today, amid the COVID-19 pandemic ‒ are more relevant than ever:
“I think we will produce the next generation of healthy nurses – who will take care of themselves and be role models for their patients and community. Across the nation there is great need to produce healthy professional caregivers. We will produce lifelong learners. We’ll produce nurses who are change agents and who will embrace change. We will capitalize on new technologies. And we’ll continue to be innovative and futuristic. Just as Dean Lewis envisioned 50 years ago that baccalaureate education would be the foundation for nursing in the future, we believe the DNP will be the foundation for advanced practice for the future. We are the first in the state to launch the baccalaureate to DNP program. You’ll see us continue to launch new and innovative programs to meet the future needs of nursing and our health systems.”
Several UNCG faculty and alumni have shared their thoughts about Remsburg below:
“Dean Remsburg was a visionary thinker. She did not get bogged down with obstacles, but instead sought innovative ways to accomplish the goal. Her vision and leadership are especially evident in the School of Nursing mission and operating principles, the Nursing and Instructional Building, and our Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She was always looking for ways for Spartan nurses to make a positive impact on health, in North Carolina and beyond.”
— Dr. Lynne Lewallen, associate dean for academic affairs in the UNCG School of Nursing
“Nursing and UNCG School of Nursing has lost a valued ally and advocate for the profession. Dr. Robin Remsburg has been my colleague and friend since 1985 when I first joined the faculty at UNCG. Robin was a young faculty member just beginning her career and she taught at the School of Nursing for two years. In those early days, Robin was active on campus and in nursing organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau International (the nursing honor society). She organized School of Nursing teams to walk for the March of Dimes and talked many of us into walking ten miles for the cause. Then, she moved to the University of Maryland to begin doctoral studies. Subsequently, she completed her studies, developed a research program in gerontology and geriatric nursing and contributed to nursing in many ways. She has accomplished a great deal for the School of Nursing, especially the Union Square Campus and the new Nursing and Instructional Building. I will miss my good friend.”
— Dr. Patricia Chamings, professor emerita, dean of the School of Nursing from 1985-1990, and UNC Greensboro Foundation Board member
“Robin Remsburg had the characteristics that most people think of when they think of what makes a really good nurse. She was smart, caring, innovative, curious, compassionate, inquisitive and an advocate for her patients and nursing. Add in some humor and strong leadership, that was Dean Remsburg. She exhibited these characteristics at the highest level here at UNC Greensboro to help guide our School of Nursing over the past seven years. We are extremely grateful to have had her guidance and collaboration that have made our school stronger and prepared to move forward. She was more than just a really good nurse, she was exceptional. Her life lives on in the impact she made on others and this university.”
— Jana Welch Wagenseller ’76, chair of the School of Nursing Advisory Board, member of the UNC Greensboro Foundation Board, and past president of the UNCG Alumni Association Board of Directors
“Robin Remsburg was an optimist and a scholar and was passionate about the profession and discipline of nursing. She cared deeply for the students, staff, and faculty, and was visionary in the goals she formulated for the school. Through her leadership, faculty, staff, and students are thinking and working together for the culture of our school to construct an even ‘more excellent’ UNCG School of Nursing.”
— Dr. Heidi Krowchuk, interim dean of the UNCG School of Nursing
“Her legacy will live on in our outstanding, highly rated programs; in the thousands of nurses who graduated during her tenure; and in future generations who will study here with a world-class faculty and a state-of-the-art facility. The thing that stands out in my mind about Robin, perhaps even more than her many academic and administrative accomplishments, is that she truly loved this University, and she will be deeply missed by all of us in the Spartan community.”
— Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., in his message to the University
Those who would like to honor Remsburg with a memorial to UNCG’s School of Nursing endowment fund may do so online at giveto.uncg.edu or by mail, Attention: Kathy Bush, UNC Greensboro, P.O. Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402). No service is planned at this time.
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications