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Anita Perry helps School of Nursing celebrate 35 years
(L-R) Patty L. Hawken, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the School of Nursing; Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Health Science Center president; First Lady Anita Thigpen Perry, a 1977 alumna of the School of Nursing; Jane Cheever Powell, luncheon sponsor; and the Honorable Dolph Briscoe Jr. celebrate the 35th anniversary of the School of Nursing.

Anita Perry helps School of Nursing celebrate 35 years

August 2004

Tears and cheers. These two words help describe an emotional day of recalling past achievements and applauding the future of the School of Nursing during the schoolís 35th anniversary luncheon. The event, sponsored by Jane Cheever Powell, a staunch supporter of the School of Nursing and a Health Science Center Presidentís Council member, was held May 21 at the Oak Hills Country Club. About 350 attended.

Robin Froman, Ph.D, dean of the School of Nursing, and Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Health Science Center president, welcomed distinguished guests and speakers, including Anita Thigpen Perry, wife of Gov. Rick Perry and a 1977 alumna of the School of Nursing, the Honorable Dolph Briscoe Jr., and Connie R. Curran, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., executive director of C-Change.

Perry took to the stage and, with tears of joy and pride in her eyes, thanked Gov. Briscoe and the faculty for making the School of Nursing what it is today. Perry had a 17-year career in the nursing profession before becoming first lady.

"I take great pride in this school. While a student, I found that the School of Nursing expanded my knowledge and heightened my excitement about the profession. Itís much more than textbooks. Itís about passion," she said. "Think of all the young men and women who have earned nursing degrees. Think of all the lives theyíve touched."

Perry presented Patty L. Hawken, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the School of Nursing, with a plaque and announced the creation of the Patty L. Hawken Nursing Endowed Professorship that will ensure excellence in research and practice in the School of Nursing. "Without Dr. Hawken this school would not be what it is today," Perry said.

Dr. Hawken served as dean from 1974 to 1997, the longest tenure for any dean in the school. The creation of the Connie R. Curran, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Living Endowment Scholarship, named for the eventís keynote speaker, also was announced.

"With the current U.S. shortage of nurses, we are once again reminded of how important our School of Nursing is," Dr. Froman said. "The Health Science Center graduates more nurses each year than any other school in Texas."

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