Rita H. Clifford, RN, PhD, who has been with the KU School of Nursing since 1964, has worn hats at every level in the School, from instructor to acting dean to her current position as associate dean for community engagement.
Her peers recognized her dedication to the nursing profession, KU, and future nurses in 1992 when she was selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni of the University of Kansas Nurses Alumni Association. In 2007 she received the Honorary Recognition from the Kansas State Nurses Association (their highest award). She has also been recognized by Ingraham’s Magazine as a Hero of Health Care, in 2011 as an honoree of The Women’s Foundation of Kansas City, and, in 2012, as a KU Woman of Distinction.
During her tenure as a faculty member and administrator she supported students at all levels by developing and implementing the School’s first Office of Student Affairs. She served as Associate Dean of Student Affairs from 1980 to January, 2012, when she began phased retirement. From its beginning in 1980 to today, the Office of Student Affairs has been responsible for recruitment, application, admissions, orientation, enrollment, advising, financial aid and graduation activities for all programs. As a part of this office, she secured federal and state funding for student support through the Nurse Traineeship program (funded continuously since 1980), the Nurse Faculty Loan program (since its availability in 2003), and the Kansas Board of Regents Nurse Educator Scholarship (since its availability in 2007).
In addition, through her work with KU Endowment Association, she has been involved in securing scholarships, many at the endowed level which makes them available in perpetuity.
In addition to maintaining membership in Delta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International, Dr. Clifford is also active in the American Nurse Association, National League for Nursing, District II Kansas State Nurses Association, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. She is past president of Delta Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau, KU Nurses Alumni Association, District II of the Kansas State Nurses Association, and currently serves as President of the KUMC Auxiliary.
She has served as Secretary for the Midwest Alliance in Nursing Board and as Chair of the Heritage Committee of Sigma Theta Tau, International. Dr. Clifford is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa, an education honor society.