When Sandra Greniewicki, EdD, MSN, RN, began working on her BSN at the UAB School of Nursing (SON) in the early 1970s, she was second in line in a family affair with the university that started with her mother and continues to this day. Recognized as the Outstanding Graduating Senior of her class in 1973, Greniewicki was the first in her family to complete her bachelor’s degree at UAB.
Greniewicki completed her MSN at UAB in 1974 and did her postdoctorate work here as well. Years before, Greniewicki’s mother Nell Dillard Atkinson, LPN, had begun her studies at the University of Alabama School of Practical Nursing and later finished her degree in nursing at Samford University. Greniewicki’s brother William Atkinson, PhD, now a senior scientist for Boeing, received his doctoral degree in medical physics at UAB and continues his relationship with the university as a publishing partner with Ivan Brezovich, PhD, a professor of radiation oncology in the School of Medicine.
Another brother, Wayne Atkinson, RN, received his BSN at UAB in 1980. In 1992, Atkinson earned his master’s degree in education from UAB. He has worked in the cardiovascular surgical units of the UAB medical center for almost 30 years. During his nursing education, he met his future wife, the late Elizabeth Lotz. Their daughter, Katie Atkinson, graduated from the SON in 2008 and now works for the UAB Health System in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care/High-Risk Labor and Delivery Unit.
Greniewicki is currently a professor at Brenau University School of Nursing in Gainesville, Georgia. She served as its inaugural dean from 1978 to 1986 and served as dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Troy University from 1993 to 1999. In addition to the family ties with UAB, Greniewicki now maintains her ties to the SON through philanthropy. Her belief in the extreme importance of developing graduate-level nurses led her to contribute to the Advanced Practice Scholarship. She was further inspired to give to this scholarship out of her gratitude and loyalty to UAB and her fondness for Jean Kelley, EdD, RN, FAAN. “Thanks to Dr. Kelley, I had the opportunity to complete her first class of graduate-level pediatric nurse practitioners,” Greniewicki says, “and her influence didn’t stop with my education at UAB. Throughout my career, I could always call on Dr. Kelley for sound, logical advice.”
Greniewicki’s passion for UAB is rivaled only by her passion for the Florence Nightingale Letters Restoration Project. She has made monetary contributions toward this project as well and is very interested in seeing it come to fruition. “I think it’s a rare opportunity for UAB—a lost treasure and a centerpiece for programming. We need to hold onto all the inspiration and guidance from that past that we can, especially in these rapidly changing times for nursing and health care.”