Kennedy named SMC nursing dean

DOWAGIAC — Dr. Melissa Kennedy of Niles has been named dean of Southwestern Michigan College’s School of Nursing and Health Services.

She succeeds Rebecca Jellison, who retired after serving since 2012.

Kennedy, a 2008 SMC grad, joined the faculty in 2011 as a part-time instructor. She became full time in 2015, and taught medical surgical and pharmacology classes.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bethel University, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Colorado’s American Sentinel University.

When she started as a Spectrum Health Lakeland cardiac nurse, “I had no desire to teach,” she said in a news release. “I thought I was content being a floor nurse, working 12-hour shifts three days a week. Once I started teaching, I wasn’t happy being a floor nurse anymore. I wanted to be a nurse as a girl, but also considered teaching high school English and literature, but decided against that.”

Kennedy’s first step will be developing a strategic plan spanning nursing and health services.

Kennedy was born in Southwest Michigan, and graduated in 1995 from Niles High School, but grew up in Dallas.

She and her husband, Jim, have been married for 18 years and have three children. Her 17-year-old and 16-year-old sons will be dual-enrolled at SMC this fall. The oldest wants to be an electrician and also studies welding. Her daughter, 14, is a cheerleader. The children attend Edwardsburg Public Schools.

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