Editor’s Note: As Dr. Susan Stone completes the final year of her 22-year tenure as the President of Frontier Nursing University, we continue to celebrate and honor her impact, leadership, and influence on the university as well as the nursing and midwifery professions.
Earlier this year, Frontier Nursing University President Dr. Susan Stone announced that she will transition into the role of FNU’s Distinguished Chair of Midwifery and Nursing at or near the end of 2023. In that role, she will spend more of her time outside of the university as a national leader and advocate for the nursing and midwifery professions. Her experience, expertise, knowledge, passion, and well-earned reputation as a leader make Dr. Stone a strong voice in the worlds of nursing, midwifery, healthcare, and education.
Dr. Stone has been a prominent presence at the university since 1991. She has been a student, instructor, Dean, and, for the last 22 years, President of FNU. Her impact on the course and success of the university is immeasurable, and it will extend long past her tenure as president.
Her accolades include the American College of Nurse-Midwives Kitty Ernst Award in 1999; Fellow, American College of Nurse-Midwives in 2005; the National Rural Health Association Distinguished Educator Award in 2011; the American Public Health Association Felicia Stewart Advocacy Award in 2011; Fellow, American Academy of Nursing in 2012; University of Tennessee Health Science Center Nurse Alumna of the Year in 2016; National Academy of Medicine Inductee in 2018; and the Frontier Nursing University Lifetime Service Award in 2023.
It is difficult to adequately express the importance of Dr. Stone’s role in the history of Frontier Nursing University. In an effort to help do so, FNU interviewed several university leaders to gain their perspectives on Dr. Stone’s impact, leadership, innovation, and passion. Among those interviewed were Dean of Nursing Dr. Joan Slager, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Paula Alexander- Delpech, Chief Operating Officer Shelley Aldridge, Board member and fellow FNU alumnus Dr. Kerri Schuiling, and Board Chair Dr. Michael Carter.
Dr. Stone will be honored during a Celebration Gala on Friday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington. To learn more, visit frontier.edu/celebration.
When I think of Sue, I think of two words: Passionate and visionary. One thing about Sue Stone is she takes the success of our students very seriously. And she wants our students to achieve their dreams of becoming a nurse-midwife or advanced nurse-practitioner and graduate from Frontier.
Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech:
When I first came to Frontier, I immediately realized Sue Stone’s commitment to the University. She was so excited that she began to share the history of the university with me. One of the reasons why Sue is such a dynamic leader is that she always makes sure everyone is included. She will listen to you, and she will help you achieve your goals.
Sue is so highly committed to mothers and babies and the families who care for them, particularly those mothers who live in areas in which they do not have access to high-quality women’s healthcare and primary care. She believes passionately that we can be an instrument of change to improve the outcomes for all people.
I’m so excited that the future for Dr. Stone is to step into this professorship and continue her wise advice to the board and to the nation. Her work in this professorship is part of the solution for the many challenges that we face in this country.
She’s a force to be reckoned with. In some ways, she can be very maternal. Don’t get between Sue and the school and what the school needs to be doing, and don’t ever get between Sue and what her students need.
She is so involved in so many different organizations around health care. She’s not just involved in one organization. She’s involved, and she leads in several organizations. Her getting inducted into the American Academy of Nursing, for example, or the National Academy of Medicine, that speaks to her vision. She’s worldly. She has a global vision about what’s going on.
Dr. Joan Slager:
She is uncompromising when it comes to adherence to Frontier’s mission, to the midwifery model of care, and to the profession of midwifery. She told me once, “One of the reasons you need to be Dean is you’re not afraid to disagree with me. It’s dangerous to have one person making all the decisions, and you’re not afraid to say ‘I disagree.’”
Sue is a strong leader. This is her strength. She’s not afraid to do something out of the ordinary if she believes in her heart it will work. And she believes in herself. She’s also very collaborative; she likes to check out ideas, run things by people. Ultimately, she’s not afraid to make the call.