UTHealth's Nursing School Gets $25 Million Gift

Jane and Robert Cizik are giving $25 million to the nursing school at the University of Texas Health Science Center. 

UTHealth President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo and School of Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier made the announcement Wednesday.

In recognition of the donation, the school -- which the school describes as "transformational" -- will be renamed Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.

“We seek to instill in nursing students passion for the gift of life, tireless devotion to learning and problem solving, and distinguished service to all,” Colasurdo said, adding that the gift "will not only serve our students and faculty, but it will have a profound impact on our patients and the entire health care delivery system.”

The school has more than 1,600 current students and is ranked in the top 5 percent of 532 graduate nursing programs nationally --  and is the highest ranked graduate nursing program in Texas.

“This gift – the largest in our school’s history – allows us to shape the future of nursing education and will powerfully enrich our long-term ability to prepare the nurses and nursing leaders who will care for our families, friends and neighbors,” Frazier said.

Jane Cizik sais her family's gift reflects an appreciation for the nursing profession, the need to address the shortage of nurses and UTHealth’s stellar nursing programs.

“We have witnessed firsthand the level of caring for patients at UTHealth that goes well beyond ordinary treatment,” she said. “It does not stop with diagnosis and tests, but heals with genuine concern for each patient. This extraordinary spirit of ‘patient first’ trickles down from the executives to the doctors and nurses and the support staff at UTHealth who make this vision of care so successful. We are truly grateful to be able to lend our name to this concept of care for the future of nursing.”

The gift will:

--Establish endowed scholarships.

--Endow chairs to recruit, reward and retain nursing faculty.

--Provide a research endowment.

--Create a distinguished lecture series.

Nursing education has never been more important or challenging, Frazier said. As Baby Boomers age and the number of people entering the health care system increases, nursing has become increasingly complex and nurses are expected to do more with fewer resources than ever before, according to Frazier.

In addition, a critical shortage of registered nurses continues.

“Texas will have a shortage of 30,000 registered nurses by 2030 if we do not increase our graduate numbers,” Frazier said. “The millennial generation is stepping up to take the increasingly complex jobs of retiring nurses. Many, however, need significant scholarship assistance. We are extremely grateful to the Ciziks for help to meet the needs of these talented students who are dedicated to the profession of nursing.”

The Ciziks' support of UTHealth spans more than two decades.

Robert Cizik chaired a successful $10 million philanthropic campaign to build a new $57 million home for the nursing school at 6901 Bertner Ave. The building opened in 2004. Jane Cizik is a lifetime member of Partners, the school’s community support organization. The two were 2010 Partners honorees.

The Ciziks previously made a gift to the Hermann Eye Fund to name the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic, where UTHealth ophthalmologists practice. They have also given to Harvard University, the University of Connecticut, the Wortham Theater Center, The Women’s Home, Citizens for Animal Protection, University of Houston and the National Audubon Society.

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