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Missions Endowment Created to Honor Late Nursing Faculty Keary Dryden

Funds will support medical mission trips for health science students

Keary Palmer Dryden had a passion for teaching, and through that teaching, she personally and professionally touched the lives of hundreds of Belmont nursing students over the course of her 20-year career on campus. Dryden, 64, died a few months ago, but her husband and brothers are honoring their loved one’s memory by creating a memorial endowment to support Belmont health sciences medical missions.

Keary’s husband, Alec Dryden, recalled how much his wife loved her career as a clinical nursing instructor, particularly the numerous opportunities she had to accompany students on mission trips to Cambodia. He said, “From the first of Keary’s medical mission trips to her last, her joy was centered in the heart and spiritual changes her students had during these trips. She never spoke of the difficulties or challenges, only of the experiences which would permanently change these student’s lives. She loved her students and dedicated her life to seeking every opportunity to help them grow to be their very best personally and professionally. These medical mission trips provided opportunities for Belmont students to learn how to fully engage and richly enjoy their chosen careers in ways that before they only imagined.”

Belmont Vice President for Development and External Relations Dr. Perry Moulds added, “The outpouring of support for the Keary P. Dryden Memorial Medical Missions Endowment represents a special moment for Belmont. In their grief, her friends and family honored her with an endowment that will forever be a part of Belmont University and will assist deserving students who, like Keary, have a passion for serving others. Beloved faculty like Keary are the reason missions have become such a unique component of a Belmont education. We are grateful for her legacy.”

Dryden began teaching at Belmont in 1999 with full-time duties from 2004-2015. In addition to educating beginning and intermediate nursing students in clinical and lab practices, she coordinated aspects of nursing orientation and the library orders for the School of Nursing. Her fellow faculty recall how she helped new students learn how to think like a nurse as well as her impact on her peers through her consistent encouragement.

Dryden’s brothers—Bert, Tom and Alston Palmer—said, “Our sister was a thoughtful and caring mentor to so many. It is our hope that the Keary P. Dryden Memorial Mission Endowment will carry on Keary’s legacy by providing students an international opportunity to administer and care for those in need. Keary was an educator and positive influence on so many young adults. This endowment will allow Keary’s spirit to be carried forward to the benefit of many students in the years to come.”