For the first few years of its existence, the school operated as one of six campuses in The University of Texas System School of Nursing. Each location was led by an associate dean, and Elizabeth (Betty) C. Jones, PhD, MSN, RN, took on that role when the Houston school was founded in 1972.
Born in Fulton, Illinois, in 1920, Jones spent much of her early life in the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas. She received her BSN from Texas Christian University, MSN from The University of Texas in Austin, and PhD from Southeastern University.
Jones worked as a nursing supervisor for the City-County Health Department in San Angelo, Texas, where she also taught at the Shannon Hospital School of Nursing for eight years. She then became head of the Angelo State University nursing program when it was created in 1968. Her connection to UT began in 1971, when she was named assistant professor and coordinator for the UT System nursing programs statewide.
“Betty was a beautiful person, and she was very intelligent and a very strong woman,” said Marvin Hecker, whom Jones hired at the school’s founding to be in charge of audio-visual needs. “She was an activist for nursing and stood up for the school.”
Following her departure from Houston, she lived in Clinton, Iowa, from 1975 to 2003, where she was elected to three terms as mayor. She lived in Austin from 2003 until her death on Nov. 29, 2013.