Growing department breaks ground

With a vision to meet the growing need for nurses in Texas, the university included a new building for the Scott & White College of Nursing as a part of its master plan.

One of the first steps in making this a reality was taken Oct. 21 as VIPs and guests celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center.

President Dr. Randy O’Rear said at the ceremony that UMHB has been proactive in addressing the nursing shortage by increasing faculty in the department, adding a Master of Science in nursing degree and increasing scholarship opportunities, all with the goal of drawing more students into the nursing program. It was determined that a new building was critical to continuing efforts for growth.

“We identified that we needed a new facility that would not only allow our program to grow, but a facility where new facilities and the best practices could be implemented to continue our rich tradition of the highest quality nurses,” O’Rear said.

The 76,000-square-foot, building will be named after the mother of Jane Meyer’s late husband Paul Meyer. The mother was a nurse.

After hearing about the campus master plan last spring, Jane Meyer felt a strong connection to the project.

“I know I didn’t really hear all that presentation because once the nursing building was mentioned, I zeroed in on it,” she said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “I just felt like it was the perfect fit for the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation.”

Groundbreakers turn dirt for the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Education Center. The building will provide much needed space and technology for the growing nursing program. Photo by JC Jones.


She later met with O’Rear to discuss her aid toward it and contributed a lead gift of $5 million through her family’s foundation.

“I have had the pleasure during my time at UMHB to work with many donors who want to honor their loved ones. However, I could tell that this day and this visit was significant,” O’Rear said. “I’ll never forget the look on Jane’s face and the resolve she had to do something very special for Paul’s mother.”

Dean of the Scott & White College of Nursing Dr. Sharon Souter said that the dreams for the new building will inspire the nursing students as they work toward their goals.

“The mission of Mary Hardin-Baylor is to prepare people who are faith informed, have discernment and have the ability to go out and lead others,” she said. “The mission of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s College of Nursing is the same, and we are very excited that it is going to be able to happen in this new facility.”

She is anticipating the opportunities for learning and growth the spacious building and updated technology will provide to students and how the building will encourage future students to be a part of the program.

“The ideas here will inspire the next generation of nurses to make contributions as servant leaders, fulfilling the mission of Mary Hardin-Baylor. We are all part of an amazing history,” she said.

Because Isabelle Rutherford Meyer had both a nursing and a teaching degree, Jane Meyer thinks that the nursing building under the leadership of Souter will be pleasing to her late mother-in-law.

“I know she must be smiling with approval that it will be Dean Souter who is responsible for all the activities of the school of nursing, and she can have twice as many students to challenge and train as she continues her special way of teaching students to practice with their hearts first,” she said.

Senior nursing major Andrew Kester spoke on behalf of the nursing students at the groundbreaking and expressed his excitement over the plans for the future building and the opportunities it will provide..

His favorite aspect of the design for the $20 million structure is that it was created with students in mind.

UMHB nursing students clap as special guests enter the ceremony for the groundbreaking of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Education Center, which is due to open in roughly a year. Photo by JC Jones.

Plans include large areas for clinical simulations, video taping abilities so that professors can record students performing simulations and then allow them to go back and learn from what they did, small study areas and a student lounge.

“All of these features have been planned so that UMHB nursing students will have lots of opportunities to interact with their professors and with their fellow nursing students,” Kester said. “Even though this building will be much larger than the facilities we have now, it has been designed to keep emphasis on the individual student.”

Personalized attention from faculty has been Kester’s favorite part of his studies, as it  distinguishes the school.

“The dedication, desire and love our professors have for us to succeed set us apart from other universities in this country,” he said. “I am incredibly thankful for all our professors do to cultivate compassion, knowledge and the love that it takes to be the best nurses in this country.”


Author: JC Jones

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