Dr. Marie L. O’Koren
Dr. Marie L. O’Koren changed the landscape of nursing education in the state as dean of the University of Alabama School of Nursing at UAB. Her nursing career spans more than 40 years and began in 1946 as a diploma graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She received a B.S.N. from Long Beach State University in 1957, and both an M.S.N. in 1958 and an Ed.D. in 1964 from The University of Alabama. She joined UAB’s nursing faculty in 1964 as assistant dean and chair of the graduate program. Dr. O’Koren was named dean in 1970 and held the position until her retirement in 1987. As dean, Dr. O’Koren led the UAB School of Nursing by increasing the number of master’s degree tracks to 10, developing the first doctoral program in nursing in the Southeast, and raising its national prominence as a top 20 nursing school in the country. Dr. O’Koren is a charter member of the University of Alabama School of Nursing Alumni Association and was instrumental in its growth. The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama established the endowed Marie L. O’Koren School of Nursing Alumni Association Scholarship at UAB in 1996. Dr. O’Koren has received many honors including the Leaders in Education Award; being listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in Health Care, Who’s Who of American Women; the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award; the Exemplary Service Award; the Distinguished Alumni Award; and the Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. O’Koren continues her support of the UAB School of Nursing as professor and dean emerita.