LR names new chair of the School of Nursing


Lenoir-Rhyne University has named Tabitha Toney ’99, Ph.D., to serve as chair of the School of Nursing. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Lenoir-Rhyne, Toney earned her master’s and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She joined the nursing faculty at LR in 2006 and is currently an associate professor of nursing, whose clinical specialty is obstetrics. Her research focuses on women’s health in high-risk pregnancies.

Tabitha Toney

“I came to LR as a third-generation Bear,” Toney shared. “When I graduated from the program in 1999, I never imagined that I would circle back to where it all began. I had no plans to work in higher education, but I came to LR in 2006 as a full-time clinical lab assistant to try it out for a while. Then I fell in love with higher education, and now I cannot imagine doing anything else. I am overwhelmed by this opportunity and honored to serve in this position.”

In her 18 years at the university, Toney has taught at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels and has taken an active role in service as a member of university committees. Most recently, she chaired the Academic Program Committee (APC) as it reviewed and took action on more than 1,000 proposals submitted to the Faculty Assembly.

“Tabitha's commitment to maintaining rigor and connection with students position her to effectively guide the School of Nursing in the future. Her passion is watching the maturity of nursing students as they progress toward graduation and become professional nurses that provide excellent care for individuals in our communities,” said Kerry Thompson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Sciences and previous chair of the School of Nursing.

For more than 60 years, the nursing program at Lenoir-Rhyne has prepared highly skilled nurses for clinical practice and leadership positions in healthcare throughout North Carolina. Toney sees her primary goal as continuing that legacy of excellence.

“I work with amazing faculty members who equip our students with the tools to make them successful in the nursing world,” Toney shared. “As chair, I want to support faculty and students to ensure that they have the tools and skills they need to thrive in the workplace and to provide high quality care to all patients.”

In addition to faculty, staff and students, Toney credits the continued support of a full range of resources beyond the university – including a close-knit alumni network and ongoing partnerships throughout Hickory and Catawba County – as essential contributors to the nursing program’s ongoing success. 

“What I love about nursing is that it comes from a heart of caring and service. I see it as a calling, a spiritual gift of caring for others in a time of need,” Toney added. “We care for all individuals as human beings that need and deserve dignity and respect. That has been the guiding principle in my 25 years as a nurse, and as an educator, I want to share that same passion for caring for others. I want students to know that nursing is not just a profession, it is a responsibility and a calling.”

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