Carol Kelsey, advocate for nursing and school, passes away

July 18, 2018

Carol KelseyCarol Kelsey, MA, BSN ’60, a tireless advocate for nursing practice and education and a graduate of the School of Nursing, passed away July 11 at the age of 80. She had been serving as chair of the School of Nursing Foundation Board. Over the years, as a School of Nursing Foundation board member and chair, as chair of the annual Jewelry Sale benefiting nursing scholarships and facilitator for the Academic Health Center’s 1Health course, she devoted countless hours to provide leadership and service to the University community.

“Carol was an exemplary nurse leader. Unwaveringly she focused on each person, whether at the bedside or serving as a manager and administrator,” said Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP. “Carol had an exceptional capacity to see possibility in all people and situations. Her special passion for supporting student scholarships was transformational. Most significant was Carol's life in oneness, with her fully integrated personal and professional life.”

Kelsey’s nursing career spanned five decades. She was the director of education at North Memorial Health Care and the director of nursing education at United Hospital. In retirement, her deep commitment to the school, her passion for supporting students and nursing research, and her ongoing engagement with former classmates and fellow volunteers energized alumni programming.

Kelsey was honored for her dedication with the University’s Alumni Service Award in 2013, and she received the School of Nursing Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award for her leadership and involvement in policy development in health education at the state and local levels and for her philanthropic work with the foundation.

“Carol earned the highest awards and honors possible from the University of Minnesota and the School of Nursing and helped take our alumni and fundraising programs to new heights,” said John Kilbride, director of development. “I will remember Carol as an incredibly proud member of the Class of 1960, a health care leader focused on patient relationships, and an alum who brought out the best in others for the school and their philanthropy. The University and the school lost a truly gifted leader.”

She was a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Minnesota Organization for Leaders in Nursing and the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, July 20, at 11 a.m. at Como Lutheran Church, with a visitation Thursday, July 19 from 4-8 p.m. at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell Funeral Home.