Celebrating Dr. Neville Strumpf


On May 20th, 2019, someone very special to The Woodlands is receiving an Honorary Degree from the University of Pennsylvania!

Dr. Neville Strumpf, one of our board members, will be attending the University of Pennsylvania’s 263rd Commencement ceremony in order to receive her Honorary Degree, which is awarded to only those that represent the highest ideals of the Ivy League school, so I guess you could say this is a pretty big deal. Other people being honored on this day are animal scientist Temple Grandin and singer-songwriter Jon Bon Jovi.

Neville has contributed immensely to the nursing community. After receiving her Bachelor’s from the State University of New York and her master’s at Russell Sage University, Neville decided that she wanted to continue her education even more by receiving her PhD at New York University in 1982.

After her academic success, Neville dedicated her time to researching geriatric nursing, or nursing for elderly patients, trying to implement more ethical treatments into her field. Dozens of her publications ultimately led to more effective, ethical methods to care for geriatric patients.


Neville didn’t stop at the research, though! In the 1980s, Neville helped found several geriatric nursing programs at the University of Pennsylvania to improve the care of older adults. She made an appearance on C-SPAN (1:22:00) representing the National League of Nursing at a Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health meeting to discuss the nursing shortage in 1987. She used her experience to highlight the lack of nurses who were trained to care for the elderly at this time. Her work was crucial to the expansion of Geriatric Nursing in this country.

From 2000-2001, Neville became Interim Dean of the Penn Nursing program. During her time as the Dean, she put her staff and students first to ensure they had the right resources and funding to support research projects and help programs reach their goals. Neville’s service to the nursing field has expanded the way people think about geriatric nursing to aid patients with the best care possible. Read about her work in her book, Restraint-Free Care online.

Neville’s late life partner, Karen Buhler-Wilkerson, worked alongside her in improving the education and research at Penn Nursing. Karen worked as a professor of community health at Penn and also served on the board of The Woodlands. Karen passed away in 2010 and we are honoring her memory as we celebrate Neville’s accomplishments that she supported throughout her life. The Nursing Center remembers Karen’s notable accomplishments, and how she "...helped found Penn Nursing's Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) program, which provides ongoing daily care for 500 poor and frail residents of West Philadelphia." She is buried at The Woodlands and her legacy can be felt at The Woodlands and in the greater Philadelphia community.

Through her work, Neville has exhibited a true dedication to geriatric nursing and patients globally, and has shown that same dedication in other parts of her life. As if all the work she has done wasn’t enough, she is the president of the board at the Ralston Center, a non-profit that focuses on assisting people 55 and older with services to equip them for independent living in their homes and communities. Her work at the Ralston Center revolves around spreading her knowledge of gerontology to others as a respectful leader. Neville truly believes in running a non-profit like a family, utilizing her past experiences to help others become leadership ready. She is also on the advisory board of Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, and, of course, one of our very own board members here at the Woodlands.

Neville has shown an outstanding amount of work and service not only in her field, but in her community. Her honorary degree is extremely well-deserved and we thank Neville for all she has done for The Woodlands. Shout out and HUGE congrats to you, Neville! You rock!

Written by: Alyssa Geniza