Remembering Dr. Jacqueline Bolden Beck: Founding Dean of FAMU’s School of Allied Health Sciences

Dr. Jacqueline Bolden Beck, founding dean of Florida A&M
University’s School of Allied Health Sciences | Photo credit: FAMU Forward

Dr. Jacqueline Bolden Beck, founding dean of Florida A&M University’s School of Allied Health Sciences, passed away at the age of 86 on Oct. 31 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Her funeral service was held last Friday at her church home, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

Dr. Beck was born in Gulfport, Mississippi where she received her earliest education. As an honor student of Dillard University in New Orleans, Dr. Beck graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1955.

Continuing her education in 1958, Dr. Beck received her Master of Science degree in Nursing at Indiana University. At the University of Florida, she earned her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in Allied Health Sciences in 1976.

Dr. Beck joined the faculty of FAMU as an instructor in 1958 and quickly moved up to higher positions. From 1977 to 1978, Dr. Beck served as Acting Dean of the School of Nursing, followed by Director of Allied Health from 1978 to 1982.

She convinced the FAMU President, Walter Smith, to develop a separate school around health sciences and by 1982, Dr. Beck was appointed Professor and Dean of Allied Health Sciences.

“She was passionate about the School of Allied Health,” current Dean of Allied Health Sciences, Dr. Cynthia Hughes Harris, said. “She was a visionary and saw the potential of this school.”

Under Dr. Beck’s administration, the baccalaureate degree programs such as Physical Therapy and Health Information Management were created in 1982. The following year, Respiratory Therapy and Health Care Management were developed, followed by Occupational Therapy in 1991 and authority to offer master’s degrees in Health Care Management and Physical Therapy in 2000.

During Dr. Beck’s tenure as dean, the Allied Health Sciences school received over $13 million in funding from federal, state and local agencies.

Dr. Beck was named Professor Emeritus when she retired in 2003.

“The School of Allied Health Sciences would not be what it is without her,” Dr. Harris added. “She provided tools to take the school even further than what she envisioned.”

She was an inspiration and loved by the faculty in the School Allied Health Sciences, Harris said. Some of the staff gives her credit to the success of their careers.

“I would not have a career without Dr. Beck,” said Aurelia Alexander, a member of the 1st Class Occupational Therapy.

Tracy A. Thomas, in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program shared her favorite quote in reference to Dean Beck: “She gave me a chance when I had previously failed.”

FAMU honored Dr. Beck in 2007 by changing the name of the Allied Health Building to the Margaret W. Lewis-Jacqueline B. Beck Building.