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Memories from Elaine Dedrickson Dyer

It has been 35 years since Dean Dr. Elaine D. Dyer retired. With her passing in December 2020, her influence continues to be seen in the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University through faculty performance and success in research, scholarly publications, and presentations.

A few weeks before her death, Dr. Dyer celebrated her 97th birthday. As the college prepares for its 70th anniversary in 2022, her legacy of implementing change, stressing research, applying evidence-based nursing education, and sense of mission are still strong and progressing in the College of Nursing. Let's consider some of her milestones.

Elaine Dedrickson Dyer was born on November 9, 1923, in Spanish Fork, Utah, to Gilbert Braithwaite Dedrickson and Alberta Larsen. Her surname and her Icelandic heritage are inherited on her paternal line from her father, Gilbert, her grandfather Theodore Dahl Dedrickson, born in Iceland, her great grandfather, Thordur his parents, Didrik Jonsson and Sigridur Amadottir, both Icelanders.

In her own words, she writes: "My first choice for a vocation was to be a medical doctor prepared to do surgery on children. I went to Brigham Young University because I was too young to apply to a medical school. I asked a professor to write a recommendation for me, but he refused because girls do not go into medicine. The door that was open to me was nursing.

"During the four years I spent in Catholic school (1942-1946), I learned a lot about my religion. I learned more about my testimony and about having firm values that I never did deviate from. So many of the values I had were also valued by the Catholic nuns.

"When I graduated, I was awarded the Bishop Hunt Medal. Bishop Hunt was Catholic Bishop at Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake, and I was awarded the outstanding nurse of the year for 1945 at Holy Cross. I guess it would qualify as valedictorian, but they didn't call it that. So, I took that as a feather in my cap to have been awarded that honor.

"When I took the licensing exam at the State Capital, I got the highest score of all of the people that took the test that day, and that included St. Mark's Hospital, LDS Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, and County Hospital.

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