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In Remembrance

Celebrating the lives of three nursing pioneers

Dr. Linda Stafford, 1940-2021; Dr. Marianne Marcus, 1932-2022; Dr. Mara Baun, 1942-2022

Linda Stafford, PhD, RN

November 28, 1940 – December 11, 2021

Assistant Professor Linda Stafford was among the first faculty members to teach nursing students when the UTHealth Houston nursing school opened its doors in 1972, having served as an instructor the previous year at The University of Texas at Austin. She began working as a clinical specialist at the Austin State Hospital in 1969 and devoted her career to psychiatric/mental health nursing, serving as track director for that specialty at Cizik School of Nursing from 1996 until her retirement in August 2019.  Dr. Stafford served as lead investigator on several grants involving mental health and substance abuse issues and was widely published on these topics as well.

Marianne Taft Marcus, EdD, RN, FAAN

October 25, 1932 – January 16, 2022

Marcus began teaching undergraduate nursing students at UTHealth Houston in 1980 and devoted her research efforts to substance use addiction and mindfulness-based stress reduction. She held several leadership positions at the school, including two stints as chair of the Department of Nursing Systems that totaled some 17 years. The highlight of her career came in 1999, when physician and philanthropist John P. McGovern, MD, took note of her expertise and offered her an endowed professorship in addictions nursing. Marcus retired in 2014 as the John P. McGovern Distinguished Professor in Addictions Nursing. She returned to campus regularly as “Mrs. Kowalski,” her unpleasant standardized patient character, to help students learn about how to interact with patients living with alcohol addiction. 

Read the profile of Marcus published in the Fall 2021 issue of Cizik Nursing, or watch a 10-minute video of highlights from an oral history interview.

Maura Baun, PhD, RN, FAAN

March 5, 1942 – March 14, 2022

Former Lee and Joseph D. Jamail Distinguished Professor Maura Baun devoted the last 15 years of her illustrious career to championing the PhD program at Cizik School of Nursing before retiring in 2015. A pioneering nurse scientist, Dr. Baun served for 19 years on the faculty of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she served as the director of its Nursing Research Center. Dean Emerita Patricia L. Starck, DSN, RN, FAAN, credited Baun with being “an early nurse scientist with her own lab, and as such … a role model for several generations of nurses.” 

Baun convinced the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to transition the research doctorate offered by the UTHealth Houston nursing school from a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) to a PhD, retroactively award a PhD to all previous DNS graduates, and expand distance education for doctoral nursing programs. She also advocated for the school’s Accelerated PhD Program, which provided financial support for 10 students to successfully earn doctoral degrees within three years to prepare teaching faculty in the Gulf Coast region.


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