WSU School of Nursing Named in Honor of Annie Taylor Dee
OGDEN, Utah – Annie Taylor Dee is remembered as the visionary who brought nursing education to Ogden; now her legacy will be honored with the naming of the Weber State University Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing.
A celebration of the naming will be held Oct. 2 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Weber State University Ballrooms with students, alumni, and members of the medical community.
“There is a rich heritage to the name Annie Taylor Dee, and it has resonated throughout our city of Ogden for many, many years,” said Susan Thornock, nursing chair. “It’s always been associated with healthcare and nursing. The stories we hear of her passion for nursing really tie in the history and mission of the school of nursing at Weber State.”
Annie Taylor Dee Family History
Annie Taylor and Thomas Dee married and settled in Ogden in 1871. Thomas partnered with other enterprising Ogdenites to launch successful business ventures in construction, manufacturing, banking, transportation and utilities. Annie joined a number of women’s organizations, including the Child Culture Club, whose members taught local mothers how to care for their children, and the Martha Society, which opened a nursery for working mothers and found adoptive homes for orphans.
Tragedy struck the Dee family in December of 1894, when Thomas and Annie’s 21-year-old son, Thomas Reese, developed severe abdominal pain. At that time, there was no place in Ogden to receive emergency medical treatment. Following a crude operation performed on the family’s dining room table, Reese suffered an agonizing death from a ruptured appendix.
Eleven years later on a scorching July day, Thomas traveled by horse-drawn wagon up Ogden Canyon to explore possible water sources there. He accidently slipped into the river and got chilled. By the time he returned home, Thomas had developed pneumonia. Once again, Annie watched helplessly as a loved one suffered. Thomas died on July 9, 1905 at the age of 60.
Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital
Annie resolved to honor her husband’s memory by building a community hospital that would provide the most competent and compassionate medical care available. The Dee family donated three acres of land on the corner of Harrison Boulevard and 24th Street. The hospital was dedicated Dec. 29, 1910.
Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
It was always Annie’s intent to establish a nursing school at the Dee Hospital. The Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital School of Nursing was the first formal nursing school in Utah. In 1913, the nursing school held its first graduation ceremony at Weber Academy (now Weber State University). Eight graduating nurses recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge and received specially designed diplomas from Annie Taylor Dee.
Dee Hospital nurses and nursing students made their own cotton balls, sharpened needles and surgical knives, sterilized thermometers—and paid for those that broke. They ran the operating and delivery rooms, administered emergency anesthetics, operated the hospital switchboard and staffed the information desk. They admitted and released patients and tallied the bills. In 1932, the Dee Hospital School of Nursing aligned its coursework with Weber College to meet the nursing profession’s growing academic standards.
In the 1950s, a nursing shortage plagued the U.S. health care system. An experimental program based at Columbia University sought to train nurses in two years instead of three or four. Weber College was one of only seven schools in the nation selected to pilot this revolutionary associate degree model of nursing education. In September 1953, Weber College opened its first nursing classes to 36 women. The students gained practical experience by caring for patients at The Dee.
In 1955, the Dee Hospital School of Nursing was phased out and students were integrated into Weber College’s program. The iconic Dee Hospital passed into history on July 12, 1969, when patients were moved into Ogden’s new McKay-Dee Hospital. Today, the original Dee Hospital site is a community park.
Annie Taylor Dee’s legacy of giving is sustained through charitable foundations established by her descendants, including son Lawrence Taylor Dee, grandson Thomas D. Dee II and granddaughter Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart. The substantial and ongoing support given to WSU and its nursing program by the Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee and Stewart Education foundations advances the commitment Annie made to education and health care during her lifetime.
“The Dee and Stewart foundations are very pleased to support faculty enrichment in the School of Nursing, and honored that the university has chosen to name the school after our ancestor Annie Taylor Dee,” said Thomas “Tim” D. Dee III. “She chose nursing as an area to focus her energies and resources, knowing the impact nurses have on healing in people's lives.”
About the Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing
The Weber State Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing has more than 40 full-time faculty members and educates nearly 1,000 nursing students each year. The key to the program’s success is its flexibility and the ability to deliver nursing education to the student and the community using the stepladder approach. Today the School of Nursing offers three nursing program levels: associate’s bachelor’s and master’s with a selected focus on administration or education. This format provides nursing students with the option to enter or exit the program at different times or levels in their education. “More than 65 years ago, Weber State University’s Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing opened its doors as part of an innovative program to educate nurses during a time of critical scarcity,” Thornock said. “The program retains its national reputation for excellence and flexibility and continues to provide highly trained nurses who provide quality care in both urban and rural settings around the region, state and nation.”
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