Date: June 29, 2022
TO: The Rory Meyers College of Nursing Community
FROM: NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming

Eileen Sullivan-Marx recently came to us to let us know that after 50 years as a nurse and 10 years as dean of the Rory Meyers College of Nursing, she intends to retire August 31, 2023.

Eileen's outstanding tenure as dean began with a historic hurricane and ended with a pandemic, and from beginning to end, she demonstrated her mettle, resiliency, innovation, and commitment to the highest standards of the profession she chose five decades ago. When Hurricane Sandy plunged much of Manhattan into darkness, she organized her faculty and students into teams to visit those living in high-rises in the Washington Square area without electricity, air conditioning, refrigerators, and running water, enabling them to be linked to needed services. And many of the nurses who heroically helped evacuate a flooding, darkened NYU Langone in the middle of the night were College of Nursing alums and graduate students. Despite the challenges — including an extended closure of NYU Langone — she helped ensure that all students were able to complete their clinical work and their coursework. Indeed, the experience led to a new focus on emergency preparedness and response at the nursing college.

Her deanship included such milestones in the College’s history as the completion of the College’s first real home, the 433 1st Avenue building; the extraordinarily generous naming gift from the Meyers family that funds full scholarships for first-generation students with financial need; and advancing the school into the ranks of the top 15 nursing schools in terms of research funding. In addition, under her leadership, the school has enjoyed substantial increases in applications to both undergraduate (it is one of three NYU undergraduate colleges with an admission rate below 10%) and master’s-level programs, helping not only to meet the pressing need to expand the nursing workforce but also to provide leaders in the field. She increased the diversity of the faculty and recruited top research and clinical faculty. She enthusiastically sought out collaborations and innovations that would advantage her students and faculty, including expanding global opportunities; strengthening the partnership between the College and NYU Langone, including launching the Interprofessional Education Program with the NYU Long Island School of Medicine; forming a research and educational partnership focused on health equity with Howard University’s nursing school; and developing a state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Learning Center.

Steadfast, down-to-earth, warm, candid, capable, and funny, Eileen exemplifies leadership, both within the profession (she served as president of the American Academy of Nursing) and within the University (she was chair of the Deans Council). It was in this last role that she proved herself an indispensable partner to us during the pandemic — she brought calm expertise, wise advice, vital knowledge of healthcare, and collegiality to the many profound challenges the University faced these past two and a half years. She was just the right person in just the right position at just the right moment; NYU’s successes during the pandemic owe much to her astute counsel and her leadership as chair of the Deans Council.

We ask you to join us in expressing our deep appreciation to Eileen for her superb service as dean and her many contributions to the profession of nursing, and in wishing her every happiness in retirement. We are sure we speak for the entire Meyers community when we say she shall be much missed.

We will be in touch early in the fall with information about the search for Eileen’s successor.