Leaders who have paved the way

Since its founding almost 23 years ago, the Board of Visitors has had outstanding leadership. The following profiles honor those dedicated individuals who have wisely led the Board thus far on its journey of supporting the UAB School of Nursing.

Since its founding almost 23 years ago, the Board of Visitors has had outstanding leadership. The following profiles honor those dedicated individuals who have wisely led the Board thus far on its journey of supporting the UAB School of Nursing.

Lella BrombergLella Bromberg – Founding Chair, 1992-1994

In 1991, when community leader/advertising executive Robert E. “Bob” Luckie, Jr, was helping to make Dean Rachel Booth’s dream of a Board of Visitors (BOV) a reality, he approached Lella Bromberg about being the BOV’s founding Chair.  Lella said it was virtually impossible to say “No” to Bob. Too, she became excited about leading a new community board to support the UAB School of Nursing in educating high-quality nurses. Joining her  as founding Co-Chair was LaVona Rushton, who would be Co-Chair for several years. 

Launched in 1992 with 19 founding members, the BOV had the dual mission of fundraising (initially for nursing scholarships) and spreading community awareness about UAB nursing education. Priority number one was to establish a strong foundation of dedicated Board members who understood their mission.  Lella recently said the BOV’s track record shows that foundation paid off.  “What this Board of Visitors has accomplished makes me feel absolutely wonderful.  It makes my heart feel good.”

Jean TomlinsonJean Tomlinson – Chair, 1994-1998

As BOV Chair for four years, Jean Tomlinson led the Board during its first four fundraising events. First came The Scholarship Rodeo in 1994, at Wild Acres, a Shelby County farm owned by William R. “Bill” Ireland and his wife Fay, a BOV member.  That was followed by the 1995 Nursing Scholarship Jamboree at Wild Acres.  The BOV then began a fundraiser series honoring individuals for community service.  The 1996 Scholarship Safari, honoring philanthropist Barbara Shook, was at South Oak, the Shoal Creek home of Jim and Bobbie Parsons (who would become a BOV member). A 1997 Scholarship Safari at the Parsons’ home honored Bob Luckie. 

Jean Tomlinson still continues BOV service, which in recent years has included her becoming a dedicated liaison to support a Junior Board of Visitors (JBOV).  Jean has said that her mother, Ada Riley, taught her to serve others. “One thing my sister and I learned from our mother was that we didn’t have a choice except to volunteer.”

Rose Marie leeRose Marie Lee –Chair, 1998-2000

Rose Marie Lee, the BOV’s third Chair, said she learned early in life to appreciate nurses.  Her first husband, a California dentist, died of cancer.  “I don’t know how I would have made it without those intensive-care nurses,” said Rose.

In later years, after she moved to Birmingham as the wife of James C. “Jimmy” Lee (chairman of Buffalo Rock Company), Rose would again appreciate nurses, this time as they ministered to Jimmy during his Parkinson’s disease battle. 

As was true of every BOV member, Rose was inspired to serve because she felt a connection to nursing. Under her leadership, BOV members sponsored two fundraisers. The 1998 fundraiser, again carrying a Scholarship Safari theme and held at Jim and Bobbie Parsons’ home, honored UAB’s third president, Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum (now a BOV member).  After not hosting a 1999 fundraiser, the BOV hosted a 2000 Scholarship Celebration at Birmingham Botanical Gardens honoring businessman/sportsman/philanthropist Bill Ireland. 

Bobbie ParsonsBobbie Parsons – Chair, 2000-2004

The BOV’s fourth Chair, Bobbie Parsons, felt linked to nursing through her parents. Bobbie’s mother, Lurleen Burns Wallace, who became Alabama’s first female governor, had once aspired to be a nurse. Her father, George C. Wallace, who would serve four terms as Alabama governor, had been a state legislator when he authored a 1947 bill which, although it didn’t pass, became a model for a 1949 bill that passed and created what today is the UAB School of Nursing.  

Bobbie led through three BOV fundraisers: 2001 event honoring UAB’s second president, Dr. S. Richardson Hill, Jr., and, in 2003 and 2004, the first two in what would be a series of MASH-themed fundraisers. Building on the military health care theme from the MASH movie and TV series, the BOV added its own MASH meaning: Make Another Scholarship Happen. 

Reflecting on BOV success in 2005, Bobbie Parsons said, “Our Board is making it possible for some very talented people to become nurses.”

Karle FalkenburgKarle Falkenburg – Chair, 2004-2006

As the BOV’s fifth Chair, Karle Falkenburg said she saw two common threads among BOV members –a strong community-service record, and, “We all want to help people pursue careers of compassion in nursing.”  

Under Karle’s leadership, the BOV continued its fundraising success with two more MASH fundraisers –the 2005 “R&R in Honolulu” and the 2006 Australian-themed “Bivouac in the Outback.” 

For Karle, there were several links to nursing. She had relatives who were nurses, including UAB nursing graduates.  Her father-in-law, Francis S. Falkenburg, had championed nursing causes as a state legislator and later as a lobbyist.  In ultimately losing both her father-in-law and her father to cancer, Karle said she had encountered “incredible nurses.”  And, in years after Karle’s BOV Chair tenure would end, her daughter Ashelynn would serve a term as Chair of the Junior Board of Visitors, founded in 2006 as a community group of yet another generation of supporters of the UAB School of Nursing. 

Elizabeth WallaceElizabeth Wallace–Chair, 2006-2008

Elizabeth Wallace, the BOV’s sixth Chair, began interacting with the BOV during its 1992 founding year.  She wasn’t a BOV member then; she was a UAB Office of Development staff member. Elizabeth’s job involved coordinating UAB-related special events; for years she helped with BOV fundraisers.  

In the late 1990s, Elizabeth’s ties with nursing and the BOV became deeply personal. Elizabeth lost her husband, 46-year-old Gibson Maynor, to a heart attack.  UAB-educated nurses cared for him. “The care those nurses rendered to Gibson at the end of his life created a poignant place in my heart forever,” said Elizabeth.  Two years later, Elizabeth again found happiness. She had been helping with BOV fundraisers at Bobbie and Jim Parsons’ home.  Bobbie introduced her brother, George C. Wallace, Jr., to Elizabeth, the woman he would marry. 

After becoming a BOV member in 2002, Elizabeth was Chair during two MASH fundraisers –the 2007 “MASH Goes Wild West” and the 2008 “MASH Takes Flight.” 

Barrett MacKayBarrett MacKay –Chair, 2008-2010

Barrett MacKay, the BOV’s seventh Chair, was the first nurse to lead the BOV –a former diabetes nurse and UAB School of Nursing master’s graduate.  She was Chair when the BOV hosted its 2009 “MASH Flies Again” fundraiser and during a 2010 successful letter-writing fundraiser, “MASH Without a BASH.”  

“I became a (BOV) member after being out of nursing for a number of years,” Barrett said in 2005.  “The Board hooks me back into nursing, where I invested a lot of time and effort.  Through the Board I can be a cheerleader for nursing.”

Barrett also became a champion for Dean Doreen Harper’s vision to have a UAB School of Nursing exhibit to showcase contents of UAB’s collection of letters written by nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. Barrett attracted support for this project among her own family and within the BOV, UAB, and community.  On October 14, 2012, the Barrett Brock MacKay Florence Nightingale Exhibit was dedicated at the UAB School of Nursing. 

Sue Ellen LucasSue Ellen Lucas – Chair, 2010-2012

Sue Ellen Lucas, the BOV’s eighth Chair, said she would always be grateful for the excellent education she received while earning her master’s degree in pediatric nursing from the UAB School of Nursing.  “My studies there have helped me as a nurse, parent, and community volunteer, and in many other ways.”  

After earning her master’s, Sue Ellen worked in two model programs based on the UAB campus.  As a medical genetics nurse, she counseled with parents of children with genetic-linked disorders.  In an adolescent medicine program at what now is Children’s of Alabama, she helped educate others in adolescent-teen care. 

In her role as BOV Chair, Sue Ellen led the BOV in launching fundraisers with the theme of “Applause for the Cause: Educate a Nurse”, featuring an evening of performance-based entertainment.  Sue Ellen was Chair for the first two of these events, “Applause 2011” at Virginia Samford Theatre, and “Applause 2012” at UAB’s Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center. 

Bobby LuckieRobert E. “Bobby” Luckie, III – Chair, 2012-2014

Bobby Luckie, the BOV’s ninth Chair, is part of a Luckie family legacy of support. His father, Bob Luckie, was motivated in 1991 to become the BOV’s key community organizer by nursing care he had seen rendered to his wife, Lois Drolet Luckie, as she battled the breast cancer that took her life in 1987.

A nurse the Luckies viewed as symbolizing compassionate care was UAB nursing graduate Holli Kemper Mock. “Mama was a patient at UAB hospital, where she was hospitalized for 37 days just before she died,” Bobby recalled in 2010.  “And there was this wonderful nurse, Holli, taking care of her.” 

As BOV Chair, Bobby led in the BOV’s successful 2013 letter-writing fundraiser and in its 2014 hosting of a third “Applause” fundraiser, at Virginia Samford Theatre. Luckie support also is evidenced by Bobby’s daughter, Mary Katherine Cabaniss, who in 2006 became founding Chair of the UAB School of Nursing’s Junior Board of Visitors, in which she remains active.

Read 8193 times Last modified on October 24, 2017

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