case western reserve university



Dean of School of Nursing at Case to speak at Yale commencement

May L. Wykle, dean and Florence Cellar Professor of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, will give the keynote address at the Yale University School of Nursing’s commencement ceremony, Monday, May 23, in New Haven, Conn.

A member of the Case faculty for 36 years, Wykle is an internationally recognized expert in the field of aging and a pioneer in psychiatric nursing. Her research interests include geriatric mental health, family caregiving, minority caregivers and caring for patients with dementia. She also serves as director of the University Center on Aging and Health, an interdisciplinary collaboration across Case’s eight colleges.

“It’s a true honor for me to speak at Yale’s commencement ceremony,” Wykle said. “To be asked by the dean, faculty and students of one of the nation’s most well-respected schools of nursing is one of the highlights of my career in nursing and nursing education.”

Katherine R. Jones, acting dean and professor at the Yale School of Nursing, said Wykle was a perfect choice as the school’s commencement speaker.

“May Wykle is one of the most highly-respected and dynamic nursing educators in the world,” Jones said. “She was a logical choice to be our speaker because of Yale’s dedication to international nursing education and scholarship. Dean Wykle is a well-known leader in international nursing education, not only through her research but also through the Bolton School’s work as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center. Dr. Wykle is also well-known for her contributions to gerontological nursing, including participation in the White House Conference on Aging in 1993 and publication of a recent award-winning book, Serving Minority Elders in the 21st Century.”

Sometimes, Wykle says, she’s surprised by the turns her career has taken. Speaking at Yale is just the latest honor in a stellar career.

“I love nursing and love taking care of patients. My research began in psychiatric nursing and then gradually progressed to aging issues,” she said. “As a nurse, I was always interested in how families and caregivers coped with patients’ or loved ones’ suffering, as well as how formal caregivers, nurses and nursing assistants communicated with patients with dementia. So I focused my research on caregiving.”

She has pursued that research and initiated educational programs internationally in Europe, Africa and Asia. One of her favorite accomplishments is helping to start a master’s program in nursing at the University of Zimbabwe in Africa. She also was appointed the first Pope Eminent Scholar, the John and Betty Pope Chair, at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development at Georgia Southwestern State University. She is currently a member of the institute’s board. She credits her appointment at the Carter Institute with giving her more insight into caregiving issues in the community.

Wykle stresses the importance of international nursing education. “We have many international students at Case who become leaders in health care in their own countries,” she said. “That’s critical because disease has no borders.”

As a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center, the Bolton School develops and disseminates research and training programs for home health care nurses. It also provides support to nurse researchers and others who conduct research on community-based home care programs. Since becoming a collaborating center the Bolton School has brought nurses from various countries to Cleveland for intensive training and study in home health care, and has sent Bolton students overseas. The Bolton School is one of only 34 collaborating centers for nursing worldwide, including nine in the U.S.

Wykle has been a nurse or nurse educator since her 1956 graduation from the Martins Ferry Hospital School of Nursing in Martins Ferry, Ohio, her hometown. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Case.

Founded in 1923, the Yale School of Nursing became the first school within a university to prepare nurses under an educational rather than an apprenticeship program. Early school leaders insisted that nursing students come to Yale to learn a highly skilled profession rather than to provide extra hands to already trained nurses.


About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.