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After $25 Million Gift from Jane and Robert Cizik, UTHealth Renames School of Nursing


By Alexandra Becker | November 15, 2017

Just before 10:30 a.m. this morning and under a shower of confetti, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston unveiled a new name for their nursing school: the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.

The announcement comes after an unprecedented donation of $25 million from the couple, known for their philanthropy and dedication to service throughout Houston. The celebratory event drew a large crowd of students, faculty and staff, as well as community members and leadership throughout the TMC.

UTHealth School of Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier, Ph.D., RN, says the gift will deliver great opportunities for students and faculty.

“The gift means a lot to the school. It means we’ll have more student scholarships, it will mean more endowments for us to reward outstanding faculty and recruit more faculty—which will drive research and improve patient care—and it will allow us to create a distinguished lecture series,” Frazier said.

Frazier emphasized that the ability to recruit and retain quality faculty is critical at a time when the country faces a growing need for registered nurses and nurse faculty.

“Nursing has never been more challenging or complex, and there’s a great nursing shortage. We educate very good nurses that are in high demand—that’s where we stand out—and these kinds of gifts and support from the community enable us to continue to be the pacesetters we’ve come to be known as for the past 30-plus years,” Frazier said. “The research that this gift will enable us to do will help us manage more patients more effectively. Yes, we educate nurses, but we’re also pushing our faculty and students to think critically and be creative and ask, ‘How can we do things better?’”

In addition to their undergraduate program, the school is also recognized for its graduate degrees, including a Master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Ph.D. and Nurse Anesthesia program. The school has more than 1,600 students currently enrolled and is ranked in the top 5 percent of graduate nursing programs in the nation. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is the highest ranked program in the Gulf Coast region.

“We produce nursing leaders,” Frazier said. “I always say, if you are in Houston, you’re going to be impacted by a UT nurse. She may not be at your bedside, but she is most likely involved in the organization and in making decisions that impact care in the organization. That’s an incredible legacy for the school, and the Ciziks’ generosity will help keep that going.”

Nursing is close to the Ciziks’ hearts.

“I have a deep appreciation for the nursing profession,” said Jane Cizik, whose sister is a nurse. “Rob and I have always been involved in our community, no matter where we lived, and UTHealth is at the center of our core beliefs that nurses are absolutely integral in providing the type of care where patients come first. That trickles down from the top to the nurses, the doctors, the technicians and everybody who works there. It’s a team effort and we are honored to have our names associated with it.”

Nursing is about service and compassion, Frazier said.

“And when you think of the Ciziks, that’s what you think of—service and compassion. This gift enables them to realize that legacy in a profession that exemplifies the values that are important to them. It was a perfect match, and it’s an incredible honor for our school.”




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