Elizabeth Mabry served for 35 years as a professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. As a teacher, role model, and friend, Mabry left a lasting impression on students.
As Emory's first 45-year consecutive annual donor, she is still making a difference in students' lives through her dedicated support of scholarships.
"Because of the generosity of extraordinary donors like Elizabeth Mabry, the school of nursing is able to support hard-working students and trailblazing nurse researchers who are improving the lives of patients," says Dean Linda McCauley 79MN. "Elizabeth has been both a good friend and an inspiring role model to me and countless other Emory nursing alumni and students. Her ongoing support as a donor and tireless volunteer efforts will continue to benefit Emory nursing students and their patients far into the future."
Raised on a farm outside Charlotte, N.C., Mabry thought she would follow her mother's example and become a science teacher. Once she enrolled at the University of North Carolina, however, she discovered a flaw in her plan.
"I didn't think I would be able to stand up in front of class. I was petrified," she says. After her first two years fo school, she transferred to Duke University, earning her bachelor of science in nursing in 1943. In early 1944, Mabry joined the U.S. Army through Red Cross, serving both with a general hospital and a mobile field hospital on the front lines in France. At the war's end, she served at a U,S. Army hospital for occupying forces in Germany, until she returned home in 1946.
She earned her master's degree in nursing from Columbia University, and in 1949 she wrote the dean of Emory University School of Nursing to ask about employment opportunities. Mabry was offered a position, and over the course of her Emory career, she taught everything from basic sciences to surgical nursing. She later earned a PhD from the University of Georgia, and teaching became an integral part of her life.
"My students made a big difference in my life," Mabry says. "They taught me more than I ever taught them."
Mabry has supported scholarships at the school of nursing for the past 45 years because she wants to provide opportunities for nursing students.
"I believe in an art based in science. That is what I tried to teach," she says. "Nursing is becoming much more an academic pursuit, and I want to do what I can to help students as they develop the future of nursing."