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Dennis L. Kitzman

Dennis L. Kitzman Headshot

From early years growing up in the “Brighton Brickyards” to his time as a standout three-sport athlete at his beloved Brighton High School to his decades-long career at Rochester Telephone Corporation, Dennis Kitzman is Rochester through and through. And together with his late wife, Harriet Kitzman, PhD, RN, FAAN, he has left an indelible mark on the city that has been so integral to his life - and the School that was the cornerstone of his wife’s remarkable career - most recently by establishing the Dennis L. and Harriet J. Kitzman Endowed Fellowship Fund.

Dennis and Harriet met at Lycoming College in the late 1950s, serendipitously as the H2N2 flu pandemic shut down their campus in 1957. Harriet, who stayed locally to continue her work as a nurse in the college infirmary, and Dennis, who lived nearby at the time, were introduced by a mutual friend. Dennis and Harriet eventually married in 1960, a partnership which would span nearly six decades.

Dennis was a loyal employee of Rochester Telephone until 1988. After being retired for just one year, he was called back to become president of a subsidiary of Frontier Communications, a position he held for 27 years.

Harriet’s 60-year career was one that inspired nurse educators and researchers in Rochester and beyond. Until the late 1960s, she worked as a supervisor and instructor at the Rochester General and Genesee hospitals, later accepting a position at the University of Rochester Medical Center as a project nurse in pediatric primary care. She quickly became a key player in a partnership between the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Nursing to develop health care services for children in the community. In this role, she developed the School of Nursing’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program in cooperation with the Department of Pediatrics which prepared nurses to provide primary care to children. Additionally, her research on the impact of a nurse-home visitation program for first-time mothers became the basis of what now is known as the federally funded Nurse-Family Partnership.

Harriet, who passed away in March 2020, was the longtime senior associate dean of research at the School of Nursing. She served as a professor and mentor known for encouraging countless other nurses to pursue their own passions for research, guiding them toward discoveries and innovations in areas such as pediatrics, palliative care, asthma, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Through his continued commitment to the School of Nursing, and the fellowship which bears Harriet’s name, Dennis continues to carry on her legacy in a way that will positively impact even more lives for years to come.

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