Dr. Constance Smith Hendricks is known internationally as an exemplary nurse, scholar and leader. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her PhD in Clinical Nursing Research from Boston College.

Hendricks has devoted more than 45 years to the nursing profession and continues to be a trailblazer in the nursing profession in the state of Alabama and beyond. Throughout her career, she has broken glass ceilings for others to follow.She is the first African American to graduate from the PhD program in Nursing at Boston College and the first African American tenured with Full Professor rank at Auburn University. Hendricks has blazed a trail on another front as the first African American to establish an endowed scholarship in the UAB School of Nursing.

Hendricks has devoted her career to developing quality nursing programs at universities across the southeast and even in her hometown of Selma, Ala. She was dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at Tuskegee University, a professor (now emerita) and the Charles W. Barkley Endowed Professor at Auburn University, dean of the Hampton University School of Nursing, developed the DNP Program at Kentucky State University, implemented the first Doctor of Philosophy nursing program in the state of Louisiana at Southern University and A&M College and founding dean of Nursing and Allied Health at Concordia College Alabama in Selma.

She is highly respected for her action-oriented health promoting research with rural and minority populations, health disparities, adolescence and gerontology. She secured millions of dollars to increase and foster health promoting behaviors among all generations, especially persons from rural and underrepresented segments of the population. Hendricks’ work spans heavily across the southeastern U.S. and globally in the countries of Liberia, Ghana, Ethiopia and Malawi.

She has received several awards throughout her career such as the Lillian Holland Harvey award from Alabama State Nurses’ Association. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (2009), into the Tuskegee University School of Nursing Hall of Fame (2016), into The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated Regional Hall of Fame (2012) and Alabama Zeta Hall of Fame (2015).