Rebekah Lemley, ’05 Honored in TICUA Hall of Fame

October 12, 2020

Aquinas College has selected Rebekah Lemley, ’05 to be honored in the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) Hall of Fame. The full text honoring Rebekah Lemley is below. 

By Sister Matthew Marie Cummings, O.P., Ed.D.

Rebekah Lemley, ’05. Photo by Susan Urmy.

The legacy of Rebekah Lemley, a 2005 graduate of the Aquinas College Associate of Science in Nursing program, makes evident how a life well lived embraces the Dominican imperative of Aquinas College to preach the Gospel, serve others, and engage culture in truth and charity. As a nurse, she brought healing to others through her faith, hope, and charity which were evident in all that she did.

For Lemley, faith was not simply going to church on Sunday. It was something that she lived every day and every moment of her life. Lemley sought to share her Christian faith with others by teaching Sunday school for 15 years and serving on the church board. With this foundation, Lemley’s life was structured by God, family, and community. She preached the Gospel by her very life. She did not need any words. She worked in such a way that the community would become part of her family.

Volunteering was Lemley’s faith in action. Her life was characterized by service to others. She was a 4-H volunteer leader for 17 years, volunteer at the Robertson County Fair for 21 years, chaperone for several educational programs and trips, President of the Cross Plains Family and Consumer Education (FCE) club, and Secretary of the county-wide Family and Consumer Education clubs.

Lemley was a Registered Nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and served as the Burn Program Manager. In this role she improved patient care by managing data and by providing educational outreach and professional development to hospital and prehospital personnel in Tennessee and Kentucky. Over the course of her career, Lemley educated thousands of utility and health care workers about the care and effects of burns, pediatric burn considerations, and safety prevention techniques.

While there are many examples of how Lemley engaged culture in truth and charity, her participation with Camp Hope is perhaps the work for which she was most passionate. Camp Hope is a nonprofit organization that offers a time away for children between the ages of 6 and 16 who have suffered burn injuries. The programs of Camp Hope develop life skills, encourage healthy living, and promote a positive self-image while participants enjoy some of their favorite activities with other children experiencing similar challenges. Recognizing the impact of Camp Hope and in order to make it accessible to all burn victims, Lemley helped to create community partnerships which fully funded each camp experience so that children could attend free of charge. Through the community partnerships not only were the children provided access to a supportive program, but other volunteers were encouraged to participate and become a part of this good work to make Camp Hope more sustainable.

Lemley passed away unexpectedly on May 5, 2019 from a pulmonary embolism. Her absence leaves a substantial hole in the Nashville medical community and in the organizations privileged by her support and participation. Lemley served as an exemplary ambassador of the mission of Aquinas College through preaching the Gospel and serving others in truth and charity. Lemley’s success in engaging culture with this mission, and encouraging others to do the same, designates her as a distinguished alumnae of Aquinas College.