The Southern Arkansas University Alumni Association honored Dr. Lepaine McHenry, dean of the OBU College of Nursing, during the organization’s annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner held Thursday, March 8, on SAU’s campus in Magnolia, Arkansas. McHenry was among seven alumni recognized by SAU for outstanding accomplishments in each of their respective fields.
McHenry graduated from SAU in 1981 with an associate degree in nursing. She then earned a BSN at the University of Arkansas, an MSN at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a specialty in executive leadership from Union University.
She was honored and humbled to receive the award.
“I am so excited to be recognized by my alma mater,” she said. “It is a humbling feeling to know that your colleagues believe you are worthy of such an award. When I look back at those who have been recognized before me, I am honored to be in their company. My learning experience at SAU cultivated my confidence and established me as an independent thinker. My faculty were dedicated nurses who loved teaching and their profession. They instilled this love and respect for nursing in me.
“Today, the confidence I gained at SAU has grown exponentially and has propelled me to take on challenges and move into roles that I never imagined. As an independent thinker, they taught me to analyze situations, remain calm and never doubt my capabilities. The foundation they gave me is still solid today.”
McHenry joined the OBU faculty in 2013 as dean of the College of Nursing. Before coming to Bison Hill, she served as assistant director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas. Her clinical practice includes medical surgical nursing, long term care, adult psychiatry, staff development, adult addictive disease, children/adolescent psychiatry, and human resources.
McHenry is the founding president of the Arkansas Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care Association and past vice president of the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care. McHenry chaired the Transition to Practice Committee for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and served as the vice president of this organization. She served four appointments by the Governor of Arkansas, including the Long Term Care Advisory Board, Minority Health Commission, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, the Governor’s Roundtable on Healthcare, and the Health, Safety, and Rural Development Committee for the Arkansas Farm Bureau. She is currently serving on the Finance Committee for the American Association for Colleges of Nursing.