Melanie Dreher, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean Emeritus, Rush University College of Nursing
Melanie Dreher has had a distinguished career in research and academic leadership, including publishing several books, reports, and articles. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, and her PhD in anthropology from Columbia University.
In addition to her research studies—which have been quoted widely by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chronicle of Higher Education—Dr. Dreher served as a charter member of the National Institute for Nursing Research and the National Institutes of Health’s Director’s Council of Public Representatives. Her four decades of leadership in nursing education include deanships at the University of Miami, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Iowa, and Rush University College of Nursing, where she is now dean emeritus.
Most recently, Dr. Dreher’s focus has shifted from education administration to health care governance. She serves as a member of the Chicago Board of Health, a member of the Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield Board of Directors, a trustee of Loyola University Chicago, and chair of the Trinity Health Board of Directors.
After serving as president of Sigma Theta Tau International, Dr. Dreher was honored by the Nursing Honor Society through the establishment of the Melanie Dreher Dean’s Award given annually to a dean who has most embraced the values of Sigma Theta Tau. She also is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and recently was named among the 40 smartest people in health care in Becker’s Hospital Review.
But Dr. Dreher’s favorite accomplishment consists of the students and faculty whom she has taught and mentored in an academic nursing career spanning 40 years. That work has generated the greatest meaning in her career, her greatest contribution to society, and her most worthwhile legacy to the academy in the magis spirit of doing more for others.