LITTLE ROCK – Ellyn E. Matthews, Ph.D., R.N., was invested Dec. 7 in the Elizabeth Stanley Cooper Endowed Chair in Oncology Nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Matthews is an associate professor in the UAMS College of Nursing. She came to UAMS in July from the University of Colorado where she was an associate professor in the College of Nursing and director of the B.S. Honors Program.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., and Patricia A. Cowan, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing, presented Matthews with the chair medallion.

“Since its inception, the Elizabeth Stanley Cooper Chair has represented research and medical advancement in oncology nursing,” said Rahn. “We are certain Dr. Matthews will continue that focus in the future.”

“Dr. Matthews’ career and excellence in nursing demonstrates why she is receiving this appointment,” said Cowan. “We are grateful she has joined our team and look forward to her contributions in the oncology nursing field.”

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Matthews speaks to the audience after being invested in the Stanley Cooper Endowed Chair.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Jean C. McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., professor and associate dean for research in the College of Nursing; Ann Malone Berger, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., professor and associate dean for research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Matthews’ sons Mark Matthews Jr. and Daniel Matthews.

Berger worked with Matthews on grants, publications and the Oncology Nursing Society’s evidence-based guidelines of interventions for sleep-wake disturbances.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to receive this chair,” said Matthews. “Through this chair, I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to advance oncology research, strengthen oncology nursing education, and improve cancer care in the state of Arkansas. I will work tirelessly to advance its mission and intent.”

Matthews earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976 from the Georgetown University School of Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing in medical-surgical nursing in 1979 at The Catholic University of America School of Nursing. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in nursing research in 2000 at Rutgers University.

She began her career as a staff nurse in 1976 at Georgetown University in cardiac and general surgery. Her path in nursing has comprised research, administration, clinical care and leadership at various medical centers and institutions, including Seton Hall University, Rutgers University and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Matthews remains an active researcher and has served as principal investigator on numerous projects, including an NIH-funded grant from 2007 to 2011 on cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia after breast cancer treatment. She has authored several scholarly articles and lectured nationally. She is a member of the American Academy of Nursing, Oncology Nursing Society, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Matthews is certified in advanced oncology nursing and behavioral sleep medicine.

“This endowed chair represents many things, but perhaps most important is being recognized by colleagues as someone who will continue to work with dedication to improve the lives of those with cancer,” said Matthews. “What makes this honor so amazing and meaningful is that it allows me to do what I love.”

Elizabeth Stanley Cooper received a bachelor of nursing degree from the Yale University School of Nursing. In 1944, she moved to Little Rock with her husband, William Grant Cooper Jr., M.D., where he practiced as a general surgeon. Although she did not work as a nurse following her marriage, Cooper maintained a lifelong interest in the profession. She served as a charter member of the first Community Advisory Council for the UAMS College of Nursing from 1991 until her death on June 21, 1994.

At her death, friends and colleagues established the Elizabeth Stanley Cooper Oncology Nursing Endowment Fund in the UAMS College of Nursing. The Elizabeth Stanley Cooper Chair was the second in the College of Nursing and first for research on the UAMS campus.

An endowed chair is the highest academic honor a university can bestow on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or may honor a person’s accomplishments. It is supported with donations of $1 million, with the chair holder using the interest proceeds for research, teaching or service activities.