College of Nursing Recipients
Leadership Excellence Award
DR. BARBARA RYDBERG BROWN,
NURS '55, GRAD '60, '70
Barbara defines success as “living each day to the fullest and enjoying family and friends with unconditional love.”
By any definition, Barbara has been a success, receiving numerous blessings in her personal and professional lives. Her family — from her parents to her six children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren — has been a joy and inspiration, and she has received multiple awards and international acclaim during her career.
A baker’s daughter from Milwaukee, Barbara earned bachelor's and master’s degrees from the Marquette's College of Nursing, then obtained a doctorate in education from the university because she enjoyed enabling professional practice environments as an administrator. From there, she went on to change lives at home, in the classroom, in the workplace and even on the warfront.
She touched students’ lives as a faculty member at several colleges and universities, including Marquette, and maintained administrative positions at hospitals in Wisconsin and Washington. With her nursing leadership, two hospitals received prestigious Magnet facility designations from the American Academy of Nursing. From 1987–91, Barbara was associate executive director at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the only woman executive at the Middle East’s premier medical complex. She remained in Saudi Arabia throughout the Gulf War and helped establish three U.S. military evacuation hospitals. But Barbara says she feels most blessed as a nurse because she was able to care for her late father and second daughter as they battled cancer.
Barbara has served as a consultant and speaker in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia and worked with several government commissions on health planning, ethics and consumer rights. She foundered Nursing Administration Quarterly and was its editor for 37 years. She also edited NurseWeek/Mountainwest (2000–04) and MODRN Nurse (2005–07).
Fun facts about Barbara:
Favorite quote: “If you don’t do anything at all, you can’t make a mistake, and you will not do anything, so do it.” — Anonymous
Someone alive or dead she’d like to have dinner with: Her parents — Karl the baker and Nora the baker lady — and Rev. Edward O’Donnell, S.J., and Rev. Francis Wade, S.J.
The Marquette faculty members who had an impact on Barbara: Father Wade, Rev. William McEvoy, S.J., and Dr. Jim Hanlon
Favorite Marquette memory: Working on homecoming floats and sneaking into her dorm room after hours at St. Joseph’s Hospital with her dear friend Lynn Arndt.
In grade school, Barbara wanted to be a doctor.
Most influential person in her life: Her father