Awards & Recognitions

On FIU Nursing's 50th Anniversary of supporting heroes in health care, we want to commemorate alumni who have shown an unwavering devotion to the values that the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences was founded upon.

These individuals represent the knowledge, compassion and leadership cultivated at the college every day. They serve as inspirations to others through their commitment to excellence in the nursing profession.

Award recipients will be honored at our Jubilee Celebration on May 4, 2024. Please note awardees are expected to attend and participate in media activities at the Jubilee.

View our invitation for more details.

Award Winners

  • Elyse Garcia
  • Audrey P. Miller
  • Beatrice Ambroise
  • Lori Schirle
  • Deborah L. Krauser
  • Frank Guido-Sanz
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Joseph
  • Rosa M. Roche
  • Susan Marie Perry

Click on our awardee's portraits to read about their education, outstanding accomplishments and personal journeys that led to their selection as FIU Nursing's heroes in health care.

Lifetime Spirit of Caring Award

Cliff Morrison
Clifford (Cliff) L. Morrison, BSN ’74, MS, MSN, RN, ACRN, FAAN

Mr. Clifford Morrison is a BSN graduate of FIU’s first graduating class in 1974. He completed an MS in Health Care Management (1976) from FIU and an MS in Community and Mental Health Nursing and Education (1979) from the University of Miami. Mr. Morrison has multiple certifications, including certifications in medical, behavioral health, administration, and HIV/AIDS nursing. In 1979 Mr. Morrison relocated to San Francisco where he was a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Forensic Psychiatric and Medical Surgical Unit at San Francisco General Hospital.

In 1982 a new fatal illness emerged among gay men in San Francisco. The stigma attached to this illness, HIV/AIDS, resulted in these patients being isolated, feared, and often unattended by health care providers. Mr. Morrison became an active advocate for these men. In 1982 he became the first Clinical AIDS Coordinator at San Francisco General Hospital. In July of 1983 he planned and established the first Special Care Unit for persons with HIV/AIDS in the world, implementing innovative ideas in the clinical setting as the AIDS epidemic grew. While still at San Francisco General Hospital, he became the Director of Medical Nursing. As knowledge about HIV/AIDS increased, he developed policies and educated multidisciplinary staff and caregivers in the compassionate care of patients with AIDS.

He served on the AIDS Advisory Committee in the San Francisco Department of Public Health where he developed educational programs. During this time, he collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who was noted for her work on death and dying. In 1987 Mr. Morrison was appointed Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation AIDS Health Services Program in the School of Medicine, University of California. The Foundation assisted with establishing care models based on of the San Francisco Model of Care for Persons Living with AIDS in cities across the United States. He continued for 25 years as a clinical professor in the school of nursing at UCSF (1981-2006).

Although he retired in 2022, his advocacy and innovative approach to care are now standard practice across health care settings throughout the world. Mr. Morrison has authored numerous publications in professional journals, book chapters and manuals, and has made countless presentations lectures and consultations in the U.S. and internationally, and interviews related to chronic disease and HIV/AIDS. He has been honored for his many contributions to nursing care for persons who have HIV/AIDS, including the Award of Recognition of Service by the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington D.C. (1985), the Award of Recognition for 25 Years of Service from the Most Holy Redeemer AIDS Support Group (2010), the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (2003), the AMFAR Award of Courage presented at the United Nations (1994), Nurse of the Year from the American Assembly of Men in Nursing (1989), and the Award of Merit for Outstanding Public Service from the county of San Francisco (1986). In 1988, Mr. Morrison was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

In 2019 he was featured in the award-winning documentary film by the Johnson & Johnson Corporation. The film "5B" (the designation of the AIDS unit in the San Francisco hospital) describes the early days of identifying and caring for people with AIDS. His colleague states that Mr. Morrison "continues to be acclaimed and revered for his work among nurses who provide care to the HIV-infected. His fearless patient advocacy, professional wisdom, passion to do the right thing, and unfailing sense of humor continue to be a source of inspiration for me and myriad others.”

Honorable Mention Recognition

  • Robin M. Adams-Massenburg, BSN ’90, MSM - Excellence in Nursing Administration
  • Lissa Bazile, BSN ’17, MSN ’20, DNP ’21, APRN, FNP-C - Excellence in Nursing Administration
  • Martha Bertin, BSN ’97, MSN ’02, DNP ’16, APRN, AGACNP-BC, FNP-BC - Excellence in Community Volunteerism
  • Philip Dlugasch, BSN, MSN ’98, ACNP-BC - Excellence in Clinical Nursing Practice
  • Florrette Douglas, BSN ’02, MBA ’13 - Excellence in Nursing Administration
  • Ruth Duval, BSN ’90, MA, RN - Excellence in Nursing Administration
  • Beverly Fray, BSN, MSN, Ph.D. ’20 - Excellence in Community Volunteerism
  • Arianna Gordillo, BSN ’07, MSN ’15, APRN - Excellence in Clinical Nursing Practice
  • Melissa Hernandez, BSN ’17, MPH, RN - Excellence in Clinical Nursing Practice
  • Ivette Hidalgo, BSN ’02, MSN ’05, Ph.D. ’17, APRN, PPCNP-BC - Excellence in Academic Nursing Education
  • Deborah (Debbie) Hill-Rodriguez, BSN ’91, MSN ’96, MBA-HMA, APRN, NE-BC - Excellence in Nursing Innovation
  • Ulonda Lanier, BSN ’23, RN, OCN - Excellence in Nursing Administration
  • Alexis Mustelier, BSN ’11, MSN ’14, APRN, FNP-BC - Excellence in Nursing Innovation
  • Armando Riera, BSN ’98, MSN ’08, APRN - Excellence in Public Service
  • Angela Wright, BSN ’00, MSN ’11, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC - Excellence in Clinical Nursing Education
  • Carolyn Zaumeyer, BSN ’90, MSN ’93, APRN - Excellence in Nursing Innovation
FIU students cheering at graduation

Alumni Legacy Recognition

As our valued nursing alumni, you have made a lasting impact on the nursing profession and the care of patients. We applaud your compassionate care and service as a nurse, and the connection you will always have to our college as an alumni. When you attended nursing school at FIU, you may have been blazing a trail or following in a family member’s footsteps.

The Alumni Legacy Recognition pays tribute to our loved ones who have shared the graduation stage across these fifty years–from grandparents who may have been graduates from our early years, to cousins whose commencements took place last year.

Please note that legacy recognition submissions have been reopened.

Recognize a Family Member

Awards Committee

Dr. Kathleen Blais '74

Dr. Suzanne Phillips

Ellice Martinez, HCA East Florida Division
Dr. Anjelis Oliveira '05
Bridgette Johnson '98
Dr. Vicky Framil '13
Captain Patrick Denis '93