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Felton, Geraldene, 1926-



  • Existence: 1926-


Geraldene Felton was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926 to Ethel Martin Felton and Fletcher Felton. Felton was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by her mother, who worked as a housekeeper and in a hospital laundry to provide for Felton and her younger sister. Although she grew up in relative poverty, Felton recalls her childhood as privileged and happy with many educational opportunities. Felton graduated from Girls High School in Philadelphia. She then went on to earn a BSN in 1960 and an MSN in 1962 in medical-surgery nursing at Wayne State University College of Nursing. She earned a doctorate in nursing from New York University in 1969.

In 1949, Felton joined the United States Army Nurse Corps, serving as a staff nurse until 1956. During this time Felton was sent to Japan for three years and then served a thirteen-month tour of duty in a MASH unit in Korea. Felton worked for the United States Army Nurse Corps from 1949 to 1975 holding a variety of teaching and clinical positions including staff nurse, nursing supervisor, nurse anesthetist, and deputy director of the Department of Nursing at Walter Reed Institute of Research. Additionally, she held faculty positions at the University of Hawaii and Georgetown University. Felton officially retired as an Army Nurse Corps officer in 1975.

Following her retirement from the Army Nurse Corps, Felton became Professor and Dean of Nursing at Oakland University School of Nursing in Rochester, Michigan. It was at Oakland University that Felton met David Evans. The couple eventually married. From 1981 until her retirement in 1997, she served as Professor and Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. From 1997 to 2001, Felton served as Executive Director of the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

Felton is a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and a member of Sigma Xi, the Iowa Women's Foundation and Rotary International. She is also a tutor in Adult Literacy Program. Felton has held the following positions: chair of the National Institutes of Health Nursing Research Study Section, member of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Commission on Nursing, president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, member of the Board of Directors of Mercy Health System, Farmington, Michigan, member of the Board of Directors of the North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, chair of various National Institute of Health advisory groups and ad-hoc Special Study Sections for the Division of Research Grants, The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine Committees on Enhancing Environmental Health in the Practice of Nursing and Military Nursing Research.

Felton's honors have included: an honorary doctorate from the Medical College of Ohio (1997), being named the University of Iowa Kelting Professor of Nursing (1996), becoming Dean and Professor Emeritus of Nursing at the University of Iowa (1998), being named a 'Living Legend' by the American Academy of Nursing (2000), and becoming Senior Fellow, The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing, Division of Nursing, New York University (2001).

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Geraldene Felton papers

Identifier: IWA0330

Professor and former dean of the University of Iowa College of Nursing.


Two books that mention Felton and her achievements in nursing are filed in the printed work collection of the Iowa Women's Archives: Complete in All Its Parts: Nursing Education at the University of Iowa, 1898-1998 by Lee Anderson and Kathy Penningroth (1998) and The Path We Tread: Blacks in Nursing Worldwide, 1864-1994 by M. Elizabeth Carnegie (1995).

Dates: 1951-2004

Giving Voice to their Memories: Oral Histories of African American Women in Iowa

Identifier: IWA0331

Oral history project of the Iowa Women's Archives.

Dates: 1997-1998

Additional filters:

1991-2000 1
2001-2010 1
20th century 1
African American women 1
Autobiographies 1