As Marion Broome prepares to assume the role of dean at the School of Nursing, it is appropriate to examine the legacy of her predecessor—Catherine Gilliss, who has spent 10 years in the position and taken the school to new heights.

Gilliss' time as dean saw the creation of a nursing Ph.D, the doubling of the school's enrollment and the construction of a new building, with the school's national ranking rising all the while. Broome appears an admirable successor, but Gilliss is certainly a tough act to follow.

Gilliss arrived on campus in 2004, making the move from Yale University to Duke at the same time as President Richard Brodhead. At the time, the School of Nursing had 33 full-time faculty members and 440 students. Ten years, one new degree program and millions of dollars in grants later, these numbers have increased to 80 and 800, respectively. Enrollment has grown across each of the school's seven degree and certificate programs, perhaps a sign that the school's success has left no one behind.

The school has experienced growth in terms of not just manpower, but location. When Gilliss took the role of dean, the School of Nursing was spread through facilities across campus—ranging from Ninth Street to the basement of the Baker House in Duke South Campus. Gilliss oversaw the opening of the Christine Siegler Pearson Building in 2006, uniting the school under one roof and allowing members of the nursing community to collaborate in a way they had never done before. In the words of Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System, it marked a "renaissance" for Duke Nursing. A recent addition to the building has pushed this spirit of collaboration and innovation even further.

Under Gilliss, the school also saw an increase in funding from the National Institute of Health, moving from 30th among the nation's nursing schools in 2007 to 10th at present. The school's overall rankings have skyrocketed as well—going from 29th in the U.S. News and World Report's nursing school rankings in 2004 to 7th currently. Although these rankings are not perfect, they certainly provide insight into the type of advancement that the school has achieved during Gilliss' tenure.

When Broome assumes the role of dean this summer, she will also become the first associate vice president of academic affairs for nursing at Duke University Health System—a new position created to strengthen the relationship between the School of Nursing and DUHS. Hopefully this will allow Broome to build on Gilliss' formidable success and take the school

In the words of Dr. James Tulskey, chair of the search committee for the dean position, "[Gilliss] leaves big shoes to fill." We agree.

Editor's Note: This editorial was written by members of staff rather than The Chronicle's independent editorial board.