Higher education

University of Iowa nursing college dean passes away

Frantz had served as UI nursing college professor for 44 years

Dean Rita Frantz, University of Iowa College of Nursing. Taken on March 3, 2010. (File photo)
Dean Rita Frantz, University of Iowa College of Nursing. Taken on March 3, 2010. (File photo)

IOWA CITY — Longtime University of Iowa College of Nursing dean Rita Frantz passed away this week. She was 68.

Frantz was a professor at the College of Nursing for 44 years, and stepped down from her position as dean Tuesday, just a day before her death.

This statement was released Saturday by UI Executive Vice President and Provost P. Barry Butler:

“Earlier this week, we learned of the death of Dr. Rita Ann Frantz, professor and Kelting Dean of the College of Nursing, after a brave battle with ill health over the past few years. This sad news has deeply affected Rita’s colleagues within the college, in the wider university and Iowa City communities, and far beyond.

“I have known Rita for many years, having had the pleasure of working alongside her as a fellow dean and more recently as provost. She was an outstanding faculty member and academic leader. More important, she was a kind and caring person who gave all of herself to her family, friends, and patients.

“As the College of Nursing has noted in a tribute on their web site, Rita has been a member of the College of Nursing faculty since 1972, after earning both a master’s degree in medical/surgical nursing and a PhD in educational psychology from the UI. She served several years as professor and chair of the college’s Systems and Practice Area of Study, and was appointed Kelting Dean of the college in 2007. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the country’s most influential deans.

“As dean, Rita was passionate about her profession, about the college, and about the university. She emphasized collaboration and partnership in the pursuit of excellence, and derived her greatest satisfaction in her work from supporting and celebrating the success of her students and colleagues. The warm and compassionate nature that no doubt helped lead her to a career in nursing shone through in all she did, within and outside of her chosen academic field.


“Rita retired from the deanship and the university earlier this month. On that occasion she said, ‘Reflecting on my 44 years at the college, I realize how much I cherish and value the outstanding people I have had the opportunity to work with and gotten to know personally.’”


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