SUNY Canton honors renowned nurse, educator with naming of nursing school
Monday, March 26, 2018 - 2:45 pm

Friends and family celebrated the Margaret D. Sovie School of Nursing naming at SUNY Canton March. From left are Margaret's brother and sister-in-law William and Carol Doe, and Sovie family friends Mary and Deborah Polniak and William Barr.

CANTON -- SUNY Canton's School of Nursing has been named for the late Margaret D. Sovie, who school officials describe as “a pioneer in health care.”

A dedication ceremony was held March 1 to celebrate the naming.

The naming was in recognition of a generous gift from Margaret's husband, Alfred L. Sovie, in honor of her accomplished career. Alfred, a 1958 SUNY Canton graduate, passed away in 2016 and wished to keep his wife's legacy alive in the North Country.

"Al Sovie gave us an incredible gift. With this naming, he reminds us all to remember those who paved the way before us," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran at the ceremony. "Margaret Sovie was a leader and innovator in the field of nursing."

The Sovies were originally from Ogdensburg and married in 1954. Alfred graduated from the George Hall Trade School in Ogdensburg and continued his education at SUNY Canton and Syracuse University in civil engineering. Margaret graduated from the St. Lawrence State Hospital School of Nursing and earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Syracuse University.

Margaret's professional career in nursing administration consisted of positions as chief nursing officer at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is perhaps most remembered for her landmark study for the 1983 American Academy of Nursing's Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals. She and her colleagues identified the characteristics of facilities that attracted and retained the best and brightest nurses, as well as established the framework for a program of nursing excellence. From this study evolved the Magnet Recognition Program, which is considered the highest recognition for nursing excellence and is used by the American Nurses Credentialing Center today.

A pioneer in combining the values of higher education, research and publication with nursing practice, she received national recognition for her study of the interrelationship of nursing acuity, diagnosis related groups, and the economic delivery of health care.

"As an internationally recognized scholar, researcher, educator and author, Margaret's studies have impacted clinical and practical nursing protocol throughout the United States and other countries," Szafran said. "She was known for her fearlessness, outspoken manner and strong commitment to mentoring and patient care services."

Following her death in 2002, the University of Rochester created the Margaret D. Sovie Lecture Series, and Alfred endowed the Margaret D. Sovie Center for Advanced Practice in 2006, the first of its kind in the country.