College of Nursing’s first Black graduate and first Black dean reflect on history and the road ahead

When Evelyn Moore Mickle graduated from the University of Florida College of Nursing in 1967, the young lady from Live Oak, Florida, became the college’s first Black graduate.  

Almost 60 years later, Mickle is celebrating Dean Shakira Henderson, who recently became the college’s first Black dean.

“I’ll tell you the truth, I cried when I heard. Did I ever think I would live to see this? I didn’t,” Mickle said.

The appointment touched Mickle so deeply because her journey, while historic, was painful. While in school, she experienced indifference and outright intolerance from the administration, faculty and students.

“It was very special for me to see Dean Henderson selected. I hope that she will be allowed to do the job she is capable of doing and was hired to do. I know she will take the college in the right direction,” she said. “I think she will give students an enlarged perspective on the art of nursing, caring and leadership.”

Henderson joined the college on Jan. 29 and was also named associate vice president for nursing education, practice, and research — or System Chief Nurse Executive — for UF Health.


Carlos Medina February 28, 2024