Friday, September 22, 2006

Henrietta Doltz Puhaty

The reference question du jour centered around former faculty member Henrietta Doltz Puhaty, Director of the University of Oregon Medical School Dept. of Nursing Education from 1943 to 1955. Like her predecessor Elnora Thomson, Doltz (who was mot married to dentist and North Pacific College alumnus Dr. Edward J. Puhaty until after her retirement from UOMS) actively campaigned to elevate the program from department status to a full school within the State System of Higher Education. Her requests were repeatedly denied; in her history of the school, Emeritus Professor Barbara Gaines lists at least four occasions when Doltz was turned down by the Medical School and the Board of Higher Education. The University of Oregon School of Nursing was finally inaugurated in 1960--after fifty years of providing quality nursing education.

Doltz was recognized for her accomplishments off the Hill as well, and was named Portland Citizen of the Week in 1949 and Woman of the Year (by the Portland Women's Forum) in 1951. The news writeup of the 1951 award noted that she was instrumental in obtaining a $60,000 Kellogg Foundation grant for the school in 1948; that she helped establish a loan fund for student nurses; and that she encouraged the school's Alumnae Association to establish student awards.

In 2003, a trust in her name was created at the School with the purpose of funding a student scholarship and an annual lectureship. The first lecture was given in August of 2005 by futurist Dr. Lowell Catlett. You can now watch a streaming video of that talk. The second talk, given by Dr. Bertice Berry on the topic of diversity, was held jsut a few days ago, on Sept. 15, 2006.

For more anecdotes about Henrietta Doltz Puhaty, check out some of the oral history interviews with members of the OHSU community who remembered her: the list of interviews mentioning Doltz can be seen in the Oral History Master Index. (Reminder: all the interviews are available to be checked out from the Main Library A/V Room, or email us for an electronic version of the transcript).

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