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Carolyn Antonides Williams

Carolyn Antonides Williams — R.N., Ph.D., and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing is a professor and former dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky, but she is perhaps best-known as a visionary, energetic, and tireless leader in her profession, which she has graced as president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, president of the American Academy of Nursing, counselor to the World Health Organization in Geneva, and appointee by President Jimmy Carter to the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine (Biomedical and Be­havioral Research), among many other efforts.

Williams earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from the Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, and then earned both her master’s (in nursing and public health) and doctorate (in epidemiology) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; she would later be named that University’s nursing alumna of the year, to no one’s surprise.                

Williams served as associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and associate professor of nursing in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina, and professor and director of the graduate program and research at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, before arriving in Lexington to teach and lead the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky for more than two decades. Despite a busy academic life, she has been actively involved in research and scholarship in nursing education and practice; she has been particularly interested in public health nursing, community-focused health programs, and the use of epidemiological strategies in health services management and evaluation, and has published widely on nursing, primary care, and public health.

For all her skills as nurse, teacher, scholar, and administrator, however, it is her much-respected leadership in the profession that the University of Portland particularly wishes to laud and celebrate today, with the conferral of a doctorate of public service; the Uni­versity as a whole, and especially the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the University’s School of Nursing, expresses gratitude and a quiet awe at the creative energy Dr. Williams has lent a profession dedicated to healing and hope values at the very heart of the University’s life and work. No one can count the thousands of hours, miles, meetings, conversations, ­debates, ideas, and moments of ­ferocious attention Dr. Williams has given to the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, the National Research Study Sections at the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Nursing Research, the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Services, the Pan American Health Organization, Sigma Theta Tau International, the universities she has served with grace, the thousands of colleagues she has taught, mentored, befriended, and inspired. Suffice it to say that in American nursing there has been one Carolyn Williams, and what a brilliant, generous energy she has been to her profession and her nation.