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A New Name

In Nursing Excellence

Jane and Robert Cizik pose with students in 2017.
Dean Lorraine Frazier (left) and UTHealth Houston President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD (right) share a laugh with the Ciziks at the naming ceremony.
Dean Lorraine Frazier (left) and UTHealth Houston President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD (right) share a laugh with the Ciziks at the naming ceremony.
Dr. Patricia Grady delivers the inaugural Jane and Robert Cizik Research Lecture in March 2022.
Dr. Patricia Grady delivers the inaugural Jane and Robert Cizik Research Lecture in March 2022.

The Cizik family name stands for philanthropy, service, and a passion to improve the lives of people in Houston and throughout the world.

In November 2017, the nursing school at UTHealth Houston benefited from one of the family’s many gifts – the largest in the school’s history. Our name changed to the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth in recognition of a $25 million endowment.

“The Cizik family’s gift is truly transformational,” said Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN. “Patients and health care systems will benefit from their generosity for decades to come.”

The Ciziks’ support of the university spans decades. Robert Cizik served as a UTHealth Houston Development Board member from 1995 to 2010, and he chaired a $10 million fundraising campaign for the $57 million nursing school that now bears the family name. Jane is a lifetime member of PARTNERS (see page 30).

Giving back to the institutions and communities that have been part of their lives is an enduring family value for the Ciziks. The couple supported all of the educational institutions they attended – Robert’s alma maters University of Connecticut and Harvard University, and University of Houston, from which Jane earned an Honors College degree. Other beneficiaries of the Ciziks’ generosity include the Hermann Eye Fund, which named the facility where McGovern Medical School ophthalmologists practice the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic. The Ciziks’ philanthropy also named the Jane Cizik Garden Place at the Women’s Home in Houston and the Jane Cizik Center at Citizens for Animal Protection.

Robert Cizik retired in 1996 as chairman and CEO of Cooper Industries, a manufacturer of engines, turbines, and compressors for the oil and natural gas industry. He sought to instill the spirit of giving in employees by initiating the company’s foundation and matching gifts program, which distributed $50 million in charitable donations from 1980 to 1995.

Robert died June 4, 2019, at the age of 88. Jane remains a passionate supporter of the school and active PARTNERS member who wastes no opportunity to spread the word about Cizik School of Nursing’s vital role in meeting the need for well-prepared nurses and health care leaders.

The family’s multipronged plan for supporting Cizik School of Nursing includes funding scholarships, faculty chairs, innovative research, and a distinguished lecture series. So far, two PhD students have benefited from Cizik scholarships.

Santa Maria and Chao Hsing Yeh, PhD, RN, FANN, hold The Jane and Robert Cizik Distinguished Chairs. These endowments help support the dean’s research with youth experiencing homelessness and Yeh’s research into auricular medicine for nonpharmacological pain management. The school is seeking candidates for three additional distinguished chairs endowed by the Ciziks’ gift, including one designated for the Cizik Nursing Research Institute executive director.

In March 2022, Patricia A. Grady, PhD, FAAN, delivered the inaugural Jane and Robert Cizik Research Lecture. Grady, a neuroscientist and director emeritus of the National Institute of Nursing Research, spent the day meeting and consulting with early career faculty and doctoral students about their research pursuits.

“Seeds planted grow. Persistence pays off,” she said during the lecture. Her words represent not only sage advice for nurse scientists beginning careers of discovery, but the Cizik family’s enduring legacy.

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