Class of 1977

Every VUSN graduate has exciting things happening in her or his life, both professionally and personally. Class Notes – printed twice a year in the Vanderbilt Nurse Magazine and available online on this page – is an opportunity for you to not only learn what other alumni are doing but also share news about your life. We would love to hear what you've been up to! Please contact us with any updates, or call 615-322-4836. And, when posting on social media please tag us! #VUSN

Look below for news from your classmates as of June 30, 2022; items received since Jan. 1 are shown in red font.


Rumay Harrell Alexander, MSN'77, was selected in March 2021 to be an American Nurses Association Scholar-In-Residence, dedicated to addressing systemic racism in the nursing profession, and elected as a board member of the Leapfrog Group in September. She received the Alumni Award for Diversity and Inclusion presented by the VUSN Alumni Association during the school's annual awards ceremony in October 2020. Rumay presented "Diversity at VUSN: An Open Discussion," in February 2019 at Vanderbilt. She co-authored an article for a June 2018 USA Today supplement featuring men in nursing, and presented "Equity of Opportunity: Beyond the Rhetoric," at VUSN in May 2017. She was appointed to the Nurse-Family Partnership board of directors in 2015. Rumay is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, special assistant to the dean of the Adams School of Dentistry at UNC-CH, former associate vice-chancellor for diversity and inclusion/chief diversity officer at UNC-CH, and former president of the National League for Nursing.

Wendy Baker, BSN'77 , of Yakima, Washington, passed away June 12, 2022.

Susanne Fisher Berger, BSN'77 , of Raleigh, North Carolina, passed away July 31, 2021.

Helen Byers Brown, MSN'77 , of Bowling Green, Kentucky, passed away July 26, 2021.

Susie Welden Caro, BSN'77, MSN'82, is director and nurse practitioner at Family Cancer Risk Services in Nashville, where she provides risk assessment, facilitation of genetics testing and education (2017).

Patty Chaffin Hofstetter, BSN'77, retired in July 2018 from her role as a senior quality and safety advisor for Vanderbilt University Medical Center's accreditation and standards team. She had been at VUMC for over 40 years. 

Lorella Crago Howard, MSN'77, is associate professor at Southern Adventist University School of Nursing in Collegedale, Tennessee (2020).

Patricia LeDrew Jones, MSN'77, is a professor at the Loma Linda University School of Nursing in California (2016).  

Cathy Madigan, BSN'77, received the Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Alumni Award for Distinguished Career in Nursing presented by the VUSN Alumni Association during the school's annual awards ceremony in October 2019. She is chief nurse executive for the University of North Carolina Health Care System and associate dean for practice at the UNC at Chapel Hill School of Nursing.

Eula Lee Marable, MSN'77 , of Detroit, passed away April 14, 2021.

Robin Fowler Mauer, BSN'77, is a nurse practitioner in nephrology at the Everett Clinic near Seattle (2017).

Donna Behler McArthur, MSN'77, co-presented "Needs Assessment for Using a Stroke Scale in Urban and Rural Kenyan Hospital Settings" at the Sigma Theta Tau Congress in July 2019. She is an adjunct clinical professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and associate in the U of A department of neurology in Tucson, as well as an adjunct professor at VUSN and member of the Alumni Board.

Beth Pulliam Meador, MSN'77, received an Excellence in Patient Experience Award from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in October 2021.

Sandy Spellings Myers, BSN'77, MSN'93 , of Nashville, passed away in September 2017.

Elena Economou Saclarides, BSN'77, of Northfield, Illinois, passed away July 18, 2015. Her husband, all five of their children and her sister graduated from Vanderbilt University.  

Joyce Grimes Safley, BSN'77, MSN'83, was a candidate for judge of the Davidson County General Sessions Court in Tennessee in May 2018. She joined the Law Office of Melinda Jacobs in Franklin as an attorney in August 2016.  

John Stepulis, MSN'77 , of Honolulu, passed away November 20, 2021. He was married to classmate, Ruth Smalley Stepulis, MSN'77.

Ruth Smalley Stepulis, MSN'77, is a volunteer for the Hawai'i Community Foundation in Honolulu as a scholarship ambassador (2016).