UNC announces Nilda Peragallo Montano as the new dean of the School of Nursing

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The new dean of the UNC School of Nursing, Dr. Nilda Peragallo Montano, was honored on Thursday February 9, 2017, in Alumni Hall. Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost James Dean Jr. spoke during the ceremony.

Her experience is vast — she had previously worked as a professor of nursing in Australia and Chile. She worked at the University of Miami School of Nursing for almost 14 years.

Although she enjoyed her time at Miami, Montano said she is excited to have the chance to be at Chapel Hill now.

“I wouldn’t have left Miami for any reason,” Montano said. “The UNC School of Nursing has an excellent program. It was an incredible opportunity. This is a great University — historically, the first public university in the USA. It’s a privilege to be here.”

She said she has always had a deep passion for teaching nursing and she is humbled by the new job and the new research opportunities she has been given.

“After practicing for many years, I really like teaching and it was a natural phenomenon,” Montano said.

“As much as you teach, you learn with the people you interact with. I want to do research and be in an academic environment where I can not only teach, but do research.”

Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chairperson of the search committee, said he was ecstatic for her new role on campus.

“She’s very experienced in nursing,” Strauss said. “I’m particularly inspired by her global perspective and vantage point. She is kind of unique. She is originally from Chile and worked with the World (Health) Organization.”

Strauss said he thinks Montano is ideal for this position and he doesn’t think there is a better person for the job.

“She is a scholar, she is an excellent administrator, and a lovely person,” he said.

Montano said she was especially excited to meet and work with UNC’s faculty and students.

She said she values the social aspect of her new positions just as much as the administrative aspect.

“You have all the human factors to make this a wonderful, wonderful place,” Montano said.

Megan Williams, a clinical assistant professor, has taught at the School of Nursing for thirteen years. She said she believes Montano is a strong presence to have in a time where the future of healthcare is quite unknown.

“To have a leader that has great vision come to our school at this point in time — when things (are changing) on a national level (with) potential changes in the Affordable Care Act — we don’t know what’s going to happen and we need a leader with vision,” Williams said.

Williams said Montano brings a level of experience and knowledge to move the School of Nursing forward.

“That’s exciting for all of us who have been working at the school for a number of years,” Williams said.

“I think it’s the spark we need.”

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