Published January 19, 2021
AACN is mourning the loss of Dr. Gladys Elaine Sorensen, Dean Emerita at the University of Arizona and an Emeritus Member of AACN, who passed away on January 3, 2021.
After serving on faculty at the University of Colorado, Dr. Sorensen joined the newly established BSN program at the University of Arizona in 1958. During the following years, she demonstrated excellence in nursing education, nursing research, and nursing leadership. She served as professor of nursing from 1958-1967.
She became the second Dean of the University of Arizona College of Nursing in 1967, a position she held until her retirement as Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita in 1986. Dean Sorensen guided the evolution of the College of Nursing in developing baccalaureate and graduate programs. During her tenure as Dean, graduate education in the College, particularly the PhD program, was recognized throughout the world for excellence in nursing research. She was instrumental in the establishment of Beta Mu Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International. Her professional accomplishments included numerous publications in professional journals.
Her commitment to caring for others led to a career in nursing and nursing education. She earned a BSN from the University of Nebraska, and an MSN and a Public Health Nursing Certificate from the University of Colorado. In 1964 she earned the Doctor of Education degree from Teacher's College, Columbia University.
Among her many accomplishments, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. In 1985 she was elected as President of that prestigious organization, and in 2002 she was named a "Living Legend" of the Academy. In recognition of all her accomplishments and contributions to the profession, Dr. Sorensen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
At the suggestion of her family, memorial gifts can be made to the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Saint Mark's Presbyterian Church Tucson, The University of Nebraska College of Nursing, or the charity of your choice.