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University of St. Thomas Breaks Ground On New Center for Science and Health Professions

University of St. Thomas Breaks Ground On New Center for Science and Health Professions

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One of the newest members of the Texas Medical Center, The University of St. Thomas, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions. The building, set to open in the summer of 2017, will house the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing and the Biology and Chemistry departments.

The building of the Center for Science and Health Professions has been years in the making. Preparations began in 2009 and the school has raised $47.3 million to date through the funding of “Faith in Our Future: The campaign for the University of St. Thomas” and generous support of the university’s benefactors.

“Twelve years ago when I came here,” said University President Robert Ivany, “One of our faculty members, Rosie Rosell in the Biology department, was walking around with me and she said, ‘Dr. Ivany, we really need a better science facility.’ Although I had only been here for a month, I knew that would be expensive.”

In the past five years, there has been a 75 percent increase in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors at The University of St. Thomas. To meet their growth and to provide students with access to state-of-the art materials and facilities, they chose to begin construction.

Samantha Loos-Polk, a senior nursing student at The University of St. Thomas is very excited about the new center.

“I wanted to become a nursing student because I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 14 years old,” said Loos-Polk. “I was hospitalized for nine months at Texas Children’s Hospital. Throughout my hospitalization, my nurses became my best friends and my second home. Through their dedication and passion, I fell in love with becoming a nurse.”

Although Loos-Polk will have graduated and be working in the medical field by the time the center is built, she hopes that the new center will provide future nursing students with the opportunity to learn about nursing in an innovative environment.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Ivany had ten students from STEM majors share their hopes and dreams for the new center.

“In my personal life, I have been inspired by nurses who have inspired me, motivated me and made me smile,” said senior nursing student Viking T. Nguyen. “My dream is that the new center will continue to train their students to deepen their calling to this beautiful vocation.”

Nguyen was hospitalized when he was 12 years old because of appendicitis. He is now fulfilling his dream to become a nurse and help others who are in need. Upon graduation, he plans to work as a nurse helping patients who are incarcerated.

Former chair of The University of St. Thomas Board of Directors Michele Malloy, took the student’s handwritten hopes and dreams and put them onto a Bobcat bulldozer which will place them into the foundation of the new center.

“This represents not just the students’ hopes and dreams but all of our hopes and dreams for this university,” said Malloy. “And with it goes our prayers that it continues to be the wonderful place that it has always been. May it only get larger and better, and more important to our community and our world.”

Bert Edmundson, M.D., chair of The University of St. Thomas Board of Directors also shared a proclamation from Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, stating that November 12, 2015, is University of St. Thomas Science and Health Professions Day.

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