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Summer 2009 | Volume 32, Number 2 | Campus

“A Nurse Is Who I Am,” Says Retiree

Four Decades of Service

Professor Mary Fry, retiring after 40 years.
Mary Fry has retired after 40 years at SPU.

In an age when the U.S. Department of Labor expects the average person to change jobs every four years, Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Fry’s 40 years of service at Seattle Pacific University is an extraordinary statistic.

The retiring professor says she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “Being a nurse is just who I am — day and night,” Fry says. “I see the world through my nursing insight. I’ve long valued the power of touch to those who need comfort. I just can’t help it — I’m a nurse.”

During her four decades at SPU, Fry happily shared her passion for nursing with thousands of students, says Lucille Kelley, dean of the School of Health Sciences (SHS): “Mary served her students, SPU, and the community through endless hours of teaching, advising, nurturing, and committee work.”

In addition to her leadership in SHS and SPU as a chair or member on countless committees, Fry was active beyond Seattle Pacific’s borders. She spent more than 12 years on the Wallingford Childcare Board, volunteered with both the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society, and participated in many professional organizations, including the Association of Women’s Health and the National Council on Family Relations. And she had published in multiple textbooks on the subject of reproductive function.

What has a life devoted to nursing taught her? Fry puts it this way: “I sometimes hear the world through and beyond what has been said.” As she heads into retirement to enjoy her 40 rose bushes, her grandchildren, and her quilting, many will miss Fry’s ability to hear the unspoken needs she has so ably met at SPU.

—Photo by Luke Rutan

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Biology professor's research on running received national notice.

“A Nurse Is Who I Am.”
Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Fry said goodbye after 40 years of service.