For the past 50 years, Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston has set the gold standard for nursing excellence, training the next generation of leaders, advancing research, and providing compassionate care in our communities.
As part of the celebration of its golden anniversary, guests representing the past, present, and future of Cizik School of Nursing gathered near the school’s main entrance on Wednesday, Sept. 7, to open a time capsule filled with treasures from 2007. Photos from the event can be viewed on Flickr.
The event was a homecoming of sorts for Dean Emerita Patricia L. Starck, who led the school through many milestones in her 30 years as the “dean’s dean.” As the school’s longest serving faculty member Professor Mary Ellen Trail Ross, DrPH, MSN, RN, and longest continuously serving staff member Pamela Nugent joined present Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPh, MSN, RN, in revealing the contents of the time capsule, Starck read the list of items and provided occasional commentary.
“A nursing cap,” said Starck, PhD, RN. “Remember those?”
Group photos, a 2007 Governor’s Proclamation from Rick Perry in honor of 35th Anniversary, and the Florence Nightingale Pledge were among the items that had been sealed in a time capsule 15 years earlier. These were just a few of the items signifying the school’s rich history of impact and growth.
In 1972, Cizik School of Nursing open its doors to 98 students. Since then, the school has conferred almost 13,500 degrees and certificates. Its current enrollment exceeds 1,600.
Santa Maria, the Jane and Robert Cizik Distinguished Chair and Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in Nursing Education Leadership, remarked on the groundbreaking advancements of the past that have led to many of today’s successes.
“There are so many things that are happening now, and we are really grateful to have a way to capture that,” Santa Maria said, adding that another time capsule will be filled this year to mark the school’s 50th anniversary.
Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, UTHealth Houston president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair, was among the guests at Wednesday’s event.
“Cizik School of Nursing is well-known for excellence in nursing education, practice, and discovery,” Colasurdo said following the time capsule reveal. “Its founding leaders, including Dean Starck, elevated the school from the best kept secret in the Texas Medical Center to being nationally ranked. With Dean Santa Maria and dedicated faculty and staff, Cizik School of Nursing remains nationally known for excellence and high quality, and a bold vision will ensure that the upward trajectory continues for the next 50 years and beyond.”
Santa Maria closed out the time capsule event with words from the late Dorothy Otto, EdD, PhD, RN, who served as acting dean of the school from 1975 to 1977. Otto, a longtime leader of the school, had this challenge for the Class of 2007.
“I challenge you to do what you wisely want to do, to do your best, and be proud of your accomplishments,” Otto wrote. “I challenge you not to criticize unless you are willing to help. I challenge you to think before you speak, to uphold fairness, integrity, and accountability…
“I challenge you to continuously seek improvements of your world. I challenge you to maintain confidence in your abilities; to uphold professional values; to be goal-directed and visionary; and to look to your future in nursing.”