Dr. Florence A. Hixson

Dr. Florence A. Hixson had established an excellent reputation as a teacher and administrator in nursing schools in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan when she came to The University of Alabama as its first nursing dean in 1950. Known for having high expectations for her students, she expected high achievement, high morals, and ethical behavior. In addition to being dean at the University of Alabama School of Nursing, she was the school’s only faculty member for its first year and a half of operation. In spite of having no faculty, by the time the new School of Nursing opened in fall of 1950, it had not only an undergraduate program, but a second program for RNs to earn their baccalaureate degrees. At the request of the diploma school directors, she also helped set up a centralized program for teaching biological and social sciences to diploma school students through the University’s extension centers. In 1955, she established the school’s master of science in nursing program in administration of nursing education. Despite continuous faculty shortages, she established a major in teaching of maternal and child health nursing and sweeping statewide programs for both tuberculosis nursing education and psychiatric nursing education that served not only School of Nursing students, but also diploma school students from around the state. In 1967, she shepherded the School of Nursing through its move to Birmingham. After leading the University of Alabama School of Nursing through its first 20 years, Dr. Florence A. Hixson retired June 30, 1970. Dr. Linda Olivet, former student and faculty member, remembers, “As students we just revered her. Here was this diminutive, quiet person for whom we had a huge amount of respect. She had come and established that program almost single-handedly, and we knew that.”