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Ora's Legacy

Picture of Ora DeJesus for Gerontology Homepage

As a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Associate Professor of Community Health in the College of Nursing and the first Executive Director of The Gerontology Center, Ora M. DeJesus was a shining example of positive aging. Her 40 years of experience in the field of gerontology included clinical practice, skilled nursing facility management and 20 years as a University Professor. Those who came in contact with Ora were impressed by her warmth, good humor and sense of purpose of what mattered to her: education, quality and compassionate care for eldersThrough her passionate leadership and insight, she inspired others to work with her to establish The Gerontology Center in 1996.

Ora M. DeJesus was the unheralded champion and advocate for elders. Ora's expertise and advice was sought by students, colleagues, a Governor and The White House. She was appointed by Governor William Weld to serve on the Board of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Nurses and asked to attend the President's White House Conference on Aging.

Ora's untimely death in 2000 left a legacy of profound work along with her vision that the University be a leader in the field of Gerontology. To honor that commitment, in 2001 the University re-named the Center The Ora M. DeJesus Gerontology Center.

Unmatched in hospitality, Ora and her husband, Henry, graciously welcomed one and all to their lovely seaside home, "Saltaire Farm".  A visit almost always included delectable warm crumpets served with jam made by Henry from berries harvested on the property. The drive and visit to Saltaire Farm were unforgettable. Providing those fortunate enough to know Ora and Henry with stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Henry and Ora's Saltaire Farm view from dock    Henry and Ora's Saltaire Farm view from porch

To learn more about this phenomenal woman, read:

The Salmon Run: Reflections on the Life of Ora M. DeJesus -  An American Original

Salmon Run cover


 

 


Written by College of Nursing Dean Emerita Joyce Y. Passos,
this book traces Ora's family background, paints a vivid portrait of her early
life and describes the circumstances that shaped Ora's determination and development into a dynamic and successful Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Associate Professor of Nursing, and elder advocate. (Amazon link)

 

 


For more information, please email us at: healthyaging@umassd.edu,
or call (508) 999-8376.

 

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