School of Nursing Timeline

Robert and Jane Cizik with Dr. Colasurdo


  • The School of Nursing opens its doors in March with Associate Dean Elizabeth Jones, housed at the Nurses Residence of the Hermann Hospital. The School of Nursing begins as a "clinical campus" of Galveston’s program of The University of Texas System School of Nursing.
  • The School of Nursing moves into the Hermann Professional Building Annex (better known as "the Garage").
  • On Aug. 28, 98 undergraduate students are admitted into our newly established BSN program, with a faculty of 10. Marilyn D. Willman, PhD, RN, is dean of the University of Texas System School of Nursing, and is later named president.


  • The School of Nursing becomes an official campus of one of The System Schools of Nursing which includes Galveston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Fort Worth (Arlington).
  • The first course catalogue is printed, with tuition costs for two semesters totaling $166.


  • Eighty-six students graduate from the School of Nursing.
  • The School of Nursing moves to 1100 Holcombe Boulevard, formerly the Prudential Life Building, residing there in leased space for the next 30 years.
  • MSN degree program is established.
  • Gerontological Nursing, Oncology Nursing and Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing programs are established.


  • The School of Nursing Alumni Association is formed.


  • The System School of Nursing is dissolved. The School of Nursing becomes a part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, with Charles A. Berry, MD, as president and with Dorothy Otto serving as acting dean from 1975 until 1977.
  • The first master’s program at the school enrolls students.


  • Arlowayne Swort (d. July 2010), PhD, RN, becomes dean of the School of Nursing.


  • Roger J. Bulger, MD, becomes president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


  • Emergency Nursing Program is established.


  • Perinatal Nursing Program is established, with the last class admitted in the 2000-01 academic year.


  • The Zeta Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society is granted to the School of Nursing.
  • The School of Nursing celebrates its 10th anniversary.


  • Critical Care Nursing Program is established.


  • Patricia L. Starck, PhD, RN, is appointed dean of the School of Nursing. She subsequently is named to the John P. McGovern Distinguished Professorship in Nursing.


  • RN-BSN Program (called "RN Flexible Option") Program is established.
  • Nurse Anesthesia and Women's Health Care Nursing programs are established.


  • The Center for Nursing Research (CNR) is established.


  • The Center on Aging is established. Linda A. Kaeser (d. Jan. 2015), PhD, RN, is its first director.


  • M. David Low, MD, PhD, becomes president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


  • Pediatric Nursing Program is jointly established with Texas Woman’s University, becoming solely our program in 2001.


  • UT Health Services opens first School of Nursing primary care clinic in the Texas Medical Center.
  • Education role is established.


  • The School of Nursing celebrates its 20th anniversary.


  • PARTNERS (“Promoting Advancement Resources to Nursing Education, Research and Students”) is established to provide additional resources to nursing educators, researchers and students. Peggy Barnett is its first president.
  • Joan Engebretson, DrPH, RN, and Diane Wardell, PhD, RN, receive a patent for the first pacifier designed for low birth weight babies, now marketed internationally as "Wee Thumbies."
  • The first dual degree MSN-MPH program in Texas begins in Houston.
  • Neonatal Nursing Program is established.


  • The Doctor of Science in Nursing (DSN) program at the School is founded.
  • Acute Care Nursing and Family Nursing programs are established.


  • The School of Nursing celebrates its 25th anniversary.


  • Nurse Anesthesia Program is ranked 8th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.


  • James T. Willerson, MD, becomes president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


  • The School is ranked in the Top 12 Percent of U.S. nursing master’s programs by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Tropical Storm Allison floods the TMC, June 8-9, temporarily closing the School of Nursing. The university suffers more than $165 million in total damages.


  • Adult Health Nursing Program is established.
  • The School of Nursing celebrates its 30th anniversary. Thirty graduates are presented with Distinguished Alumni awards.


  • Nurse Anesthesia Program is ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.


  • The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Education and Research is founded.
  • BSN "BACC2" Degree Program established.
  • The new $57-million School of Nursing and Student Community Center (SONSCC), 6901 Bertner Avenue, celebrates its grand opening.


  • The School is ranked in the Top Eight Percent of U.S. nursing master’s programs by U.S. News and World Report.
  • The School of Nursing opens the first biological sciences "wet” laboratory in a Texas nursing school.
  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita cause tremendous devastation along the Gulf Coast. The School accepts five displaced students into its program with three successfully graduating. The School of Nursing, with other UTHealth schools, operates a comprehensive 24-hour emergency health clinic in the George R. Brown Convention Center for hurricane evacuees.
  • Nurse Leadership and Administration Program is established.


  • The School of Nursing and Student Community Center (SONSCC) is recognized as one of the top 10 Green Buildings in the U.S. and receives an Honor Award from Texas Society of Architects, as well as nine other prestigious state and national awards.
  • The School is ranked in the top third of schools of nursing with research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is established.
  • The PARTNERS endowment reaches $1 million in funding. The first PARTNERS Professorship is established.


  • The School is ranked in the Top Five Percent of U.S. nursing master’s programs by U.S. News and World Report.
  • The Pre-Clinical Critical Care Laboratory (PCCL) is constructed.
  • The School welcomes 140 new BSN students, 165 new MSN students and 26 new doctoral students, bringing total enrollment to 821.
  • The title of the research doctoral degree changes from the Doctor of Science in Nursing (DSN) to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Previous graduates are given permission to request reissue of diploma to reflect a PhD degree.
  • Installation of 35th Anniversary Celebration and Time Capsule inside the SONSCC.


  • Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS, is named president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


  • Two million dollars in gift funding is secured for a new Accelerated PhD Program; the new "Pacesetter" BSN option is offered for fall 2010.
  • The School maintains its rank among the Top Five Percent in the 2010 survey of graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dr. Starck is honored for 25 years of dedication, leadership and vision as dean.
  • The School graduates the first nine students ever to earn the DNP degree in Texas (May).
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry ceremonially signs HB 4471 at the School of Nursing.
  • The SONSCC is awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.


  • The national RWJF/IOM "Future of Nursing" task force makes a site visit.
  • The School partners with HCC John B. Coleman, MD College for Health Sciences on early-decision BSN admissions for associate degree nursing students.
  • The philanthropically funded "Patricia L. Starck Accelerated PhD Scholars Program" admits 10 students for fall 2010.


  • U.S. News & World Report's 2012 America's Best Graduate Schools guide ranks UTHealth School of Nursing tops in Texas and Top Five Percent nationally.
  • Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, UT Medical School dean since 2007, is appointed president ad interim of UTHealth.
  • May commencement and the Class of 2011 puts School’s total alumni at more than 8,000.
  • Dean Starck accepts additional leadership duties as UTHealth’s Senior Vice President for Community Affairs.
  • A new gift of $500,000 endows a proposed Huffington Foundation Chair in Nursing Education Leadership to be held by the Dean.
  • The 25th and final Joseph C., Sr. & Selenia E. Valley Conference on Aging is held (Sept. 16).
  • The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) okays changing the name of the Integrated Nursing Care Department to “Family Health.”
  • UT Health Services begins offering its new “HELP” diabetes self-management program.
  • The School agrees to early decision BSN admissions through the Lone Star College System.


  • The UT MD Anderson Houston Main Building, the SON's home for 30 years, is imploded prior to final demolition (Jan. 8).
  • A combined gift of $950,000 launches a new Accelerated FNP-DNP program in the fall semester.
  • Dean Starck is elected to the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education (UTAHSE).
  • Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, is appointed as the sixth president in UTHealth’s 40-year history.


  • Dr. Cathy Rozmus is named UTHealth’s Assistant Vice President for Institutional Assessment & Enhancement. She also receives the UT System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA).
  • Dean Starck finishes a very successful two years of service as UTHealth’s Sr. Vice President for Community Affairs and is appointed Senior Vice President for Interprofessional Education.
  • Approval is received from the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs to begin offering the new BSN to DNP degree in Nurse Anesthesia in summer 2014.
  • A commemorative plaque is installed in the SONSCC lobby that honors 40 Distinguished Alumni in celebration of the SON’s 40th Anniversary.
  • A second group of accelerated PhD students is admitted for fall 2013, after a successful $1.3-million fundraising initiative supports it. All 10 members of the 2010 cohort are hired as assistant professors on the SON faculty, effective fall 2013.
  • A $1-million planned gift from retired UTHealth faculty member Dr. James P. Turley establishes the Lillian Eriksen Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Global Health.


  • In February, Dr. Starck announces that she plans to step down at the end of the year as School of Nursing dean, a leadership position she has held since 1984.
  • Dr. Joanne V. Hickey is one of 39 faculty members statewide to receive the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for 2014.
  • Marylyn Harris (MSN ‘97) and the late Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Carlson (BSN ‘94, MSN ‘97, PhD 2003) are added to the list of Distinguished Alumni since 1972.


  • Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN, FAAN, officially begins her tenure as only the fourth dean in the School’s 42-year history (Feb. 1).
  • The School maintains its Top Five Percent ranking among U.S. nursing graduate programs, according to Best Graduate Schools 2016.
  • Allison P. Edwards, DrPH, MS, RN, is appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas Board of Nursing to serve a term that expires in 2021.
  • The School passes a major milestone, having granted 10,167 nursing degrees to its graduates since 1972.
  • A new Nursing Informatics track in the post-master's DNP program admits its first students in fall 2015.
  • Dean Frazier creates the new leadership position of Associate Dean for Professional Development and Faculty Affairs.


  • In the spring semester, a new Veterans’ Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (VBSN) program begins facilitating the transition of U.S. Armed Forces veterans into professional nursing. Georgeann McRaven, wife of the UT System Chancellor, keynotes the opening ceremony.
  • The School maintains its Top Five Percent ranking among United States nursing graduate programs, according to the 2017 Best Graduate Schools guide.  U.S. News also cites the DNP program as the highest-ranked in Texas and No.24 nationwide. The Nurse Anesthesia master’s/doctorate program (at No.8) is ranked in the Top 10 in the U.S.
  • The leadership position of Cathy L. Rozmus, PhD, RN, is elevated to Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • The DNP program celebrates its 10th Anniversary and All-Classes Reunion on the School’s rooftop terrace.
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing Amy O. Calvin, PhD, RN, receives the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. 
  • Constance Johnson, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN, joins the School as Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship (Oct).


  • UTHealth maintains its Top Five Percent ranking among U.S. nursing graduate programs, according to the 2018 Best Graduate Schools guide. The DNP program continues as the highest-ranked in Texas.
  • The Acting United States Surgeon General, RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN, is guest speaker at Commencement.
  • Dr. Melanie M. McEwen is one of six UTHealth faculty members to receive the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for 2017.
  • On Nov. 15, in recognition of their landmark gift of $25 million, the school is renamed “Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.”


  • Four outstanding graduates of Cizik School of Nursing are added to the honor roll of just 42 previous Distinguished Alumni – Drs. Terri Armstrong, Holly Jeffreys, Michelle L. Edwards, Wendy Duggleby and Shannan Hamlin. (Feb.)
  • The Joan and Stanford Alexander Fellowship in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is established and granted in the spring semester to the first four selected participants.
  • The School’s original documentary, Caring Corrupted: the Killing Nurses of the Third Reich, wins a Platinum award in the prestigious Worldfest film competition. It tells the cautionary tale of nurses who abandoned their professional ethics and participated in the Holocaust.
  • For the seventh year in a row, our class of Nurse Anesthesia graduates scores first-attempt pass rates of 100 percent on the national CRNA certification exam.
  • Nursing informatics pioneer RADM (Ret.) Carol A. Romano, PhD, RN, FAAN, is keynote speaker at Commencement, where more than 370 students receive nursing degrees.
  • The UT System Regents honor Susan D. Ruppert, PhD, RN, as a 2018 recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA).
  • Dr. Lorraine Frazier concludes her three-and-a-half-year deanship. Dr. Diane Santa Maria is appointed interim dean, effective Aug. 20.
  • Fall 2018 total enrollment of 1,728 students (59 percent graduate students) is the highest fall enrollment in the School's history to date.
  • Oct. 24 – A tribute wall honoring the $25-million gift by Jane & Robert Cizik is unveiled in the school’s lobby.


  • US News ranks Cizik SON’s master’s programs in the Top 12 Percent nationwide and our DNP program at No#40 nationally among 182 surveyed DNP programs.
  • The BSN-DNP Nurse Practitioner degree program is approved by the THECB for a fall 2019 start.
  • The 36th president of the American Nurses Association, Dr. Ernest J. Grant, is keynote speaker at May 2019 Commencement in Sugar Land, which was open to the most degree-earners in the School’s history – 921 total!
  • Robert Cizik, $25-million donor and namesake of Cizik School of Nursing, dies June 4, 2019 at age 88.


  • Cizik School of Nursing cuts the ribbon on its expanded Simulation and Clinical Performance Laboratory and its new Smart Apartment, a living laboratory to pilot test aging-in-place technologies.
  • UTHealth Houston campus shuts down most in-person activities in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Socially distanced simulations and testing return to Cizik School of Nursing during the summer term. Graduates celebrate with virtual commencement and pinning ceremonies.
  • The BSN-DNP program is expanded for the fall 2020 semester to include a focus area on Adult/Gerontology Acute Care.
  • Diane M. Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN, becomes the fifth dean of UTHealth Houston nursing school, effective Sept. 1, 2020.
  • Cizik School of Nursing’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner program is expanded to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
  • Professor Elda Ramirez, PhD, RN, ENP-C, is named the school’s inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, effective Dec. 1, 2020.


  • Cizik School of Nursing students, faculty, and staff volunteer countless hours at COVID-19 vaccination clinics run by UT Physicians.
  • Graduates of Cizik School of Nursing, UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry, and UTHealth Houston School of Public Health participate in the first joint commencement ceremony at Minute Maid Park with speaker John Zerwas, The University of Texas System’s Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs.
  • The Center for Nursing Research Laboratory is certified by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to provide testing for research and clinical purposes. 
  • Professor Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN, delivers the inaugural presentation of the Carla Diaz-Lewis Domestic Violence Lecture Series on October 13, 2021.