Why They Give

Jana Welch Wagenseller ’76

Jana Welch Wagenseller came to UNCG in 1972 to study at the School of Nursing, well aware that although the school was only five years old, it was among the best in the nation. It was her parents’ long-held dream that she pursue a college education, and it was her own dream to become a nurse.

“I had always liked all things medical since I was a young girl,” said Wagenseller. “I liked the science, I liked working with people, I liked solving puzzles, and I especially liked caring for others. I chose UNCG because it had the best nursing program in the southeast. I have never regretted my choice.”

She remembers the leadership of Dean Eloise Lewis, the teaching of Dr. Sue Beeson and many others, and the excellence of the program. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing from UNCG in 1976 and went on to build an exceptional career in the medical profession.

“I received an incredible nursing education that I describe as the foundation of my nursing practice,” Wagenseller shared.

She worked at Duke University Medical Center in multiple roles, including Head Nurse for Inpatient Oncology. She has been administrative director of the affiliations program at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, through which she developed cancer programs in communities throughout the southeast. Wagenseller was also the associate director of the cancer network at Duke University Health System, overseeing research and education programs.

In 1993, she received the Evelyn Morgan Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing Practice from Friends of Nursing at Duke University Medical Center.

A past president of the UNCG Alumni Association Board of Directors and lifetime member, Wagenseller served on the Students First Campaign Committee for School of Nursing, the Chancellor’s Search Committee, and serves on the School of Nursing Advisory Board. In those roles, she has had the opportunity to observe the continued excellence of leadership and teaching in the School of Nursing, now in its 50th year.

In 2015, Wagenseller created a program fund that will support professional development activities for the faculty of the School of Nursing, giving them the opportunity to present their work at professional conferences and expand the scope of their teaching, research, and service.

“We must show the faculty that we value them and their work,” she said about her contribution. “Professional development is enduring, and we must encourage and support this – it is what helps sustain excellence.”

Wagenseller has used her education and experience to serve the medical profession to the utmost degree, and as a donor she is serving the institution where she began her remarkable career.

Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor