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Recognition, Achievements and Awards

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing believes it is important to honor and celebrate our faculty, alumni and students and their achievements in and contributions to scholarship, research and service. This catalog of honor is one way we say “Thank you” for the diligence and integrity they display through their work each and every day.



BSN (2011) alumna receives accolade
Posted: Oct. 9, 2014

Kristina De Leon, BSN, RN Dell Children’s IMC staff nurse, received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses from the DAISY Foundation. The award recognizes nurses who demonstrate exceptional compassion and caring.

At Dell Children's, one parent had this to say: “Kristina was on top of every need we had from emotional, physical and pain relief. She worked with the doctors flawlessly on our behalf and even stayed 1.5 hours past her shift to see that our daughter got what she needed! Our family can never thank her enough. We would adopt her if we could!"

School of Nursing Alumna Receives Prestigious University of Texas System Award
Posted: Aug. 28, 2014

Joanne V. Hickey, Ph.D., R.N., APRN, ACNP-BC, FAAN, FCCM, professor, UT Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing, is a recipient of the 2014 UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. “Education is transformational,” said Dr. Hickey. “As a teacher, I am privileged to have the opportunity to influence the growth and development of students as critical thinkers and leaders who apply their knowledge to achieve optimal outcomes for countless individuals and populations.”

Offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine academic and six health University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents’ highest honor. With a monetary award of $25,000, the awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance.

Dr. Hickey received a doctoral degree from the UT Austin School of Nursing in 1987.

Former student receives prestigious international health award
Posted: Aug. 21, 2014

Alumna Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill School of Nursing, was selected as the recipient of the Special Award for Outstanding Health Professional Educators by a committee representing the Prince Mahidol Award Conference. She was one of seven international educators chosen for the award and the only nurse. Selection criteria called for visionary leaders who have successfully implemented innovative teaching techniques that are "part of an evidence-base for producing quality health personnel." Dr. Sherwood traveled to Thailand to receive the award during the closing ceremony of the Prince Mahidol Award Conference.

Dr. Sherwood received her doctoral degree from the UT Austin School of Nursing in 1988.

Alumna inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of Emergency Nursing
Posted: Aug. 6, 2014

James Pittman

Ruth Rea (PhD 1987) was one of 10 nurses recently inducted into the Academy of Emergency Nursing (AEN). AEN honors nurses who have made enduring, substantial contributions to emergency nursing, and who continue to advance the profession. Dr. Rea has a long history of teaching and research in emergency care and provided leadership in launching the Trauma Nursing Core Course, now disseminated to all 50 states.

The Academy provides visionary leadership to the Emergency Nurses Association. The mission of the ENA is to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice.

Michael L. Evans receives the 2014 Luther Christman Award
Posted: July 11, 2014

Alumnus Michael L. Evans, dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School in Lubbock, was named the recipient of the American Nurses Association's 2014 Luther Christman Award. The award recognizes the contributions that an individual man in nursing has made to the profession of nursing. Evans was honored at a ceremony and reception in June in Washington, DC. Evans received his doctorate from UT Austin School of Nursing in 1992 and was the first male to be named dean of a nursing school in the United States.

James Pittman

James Pittman named one of "Fab 5" Nurses
Posted: July 11, 2014

District 5 of the Texas Nurses Association in the Austin area has named alumnus James Pittman (BSN '04, MSN '12) to their "Fab 5" nurses for embodying service to the community and being positive roles models of professional nursing.

Pittman is associate chief nursing officer with St. David's Executive Development Program. He was one of last year's UT Austin School of Nursing's two "Rising Stars."

Gaurdia Banister receives diversity award
Posted: June 4, 2014

Alumna Gaurdia Banister, executive director of the Institute for Patient Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, was named the recipient of the 2014 AONE Prism Diversity Award. The award recognizes an individual who has advanced diversity efforts within the nursing profession, the community or individual’s organization. The individual is a leader in supporting the AONE Guiding Principles for Diversity in Health Care Organizations and demonstrates the mastery of the AONE Nurse Executive Competencies – Communication and Relationship Building, Diversity.

Cheryl Spencer

Cheryl Spencer appointed CEO of Victory Medical Center in Fort Worth
Posted: Feb. 3, 2014

Cheryl Spencer, BSN (1977), was recently chosen to lead Victory Medical Center, a new $70 million specialized surgical hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. As CEO, Spencer will over see all administrative daily activities. She comes to the new center from Harris Outpatient Surgery Center, where she was responsible for all business and clinical operations. Spencer has been a surgical nurse for more than 30 years and has 16 years of surgery center administration experience.

Mary Lou Bond

Mary Lou Bond appointed to Fulbright Specialist program
Posted: Jan. 10, 2014

Mary Lou Bond, PhD (1984), RN, CNE, FAAN, was recently named a Fulbright Specialist. As such, she will join other specialists and travel to “collaborate with professional counterparts at non-U.S. institutions in curriculum and faculty development, institutional planning and a variety of other activities," according to the Fulbright Specialist website. Bond's focus will be on faculty development and mentoring programs in the academic environment. Her experience building a robust mentoring program for College of Nursing PhD students as well as her own experiences as a learner and professor give will serve her well on these projects.

The Fulbright Specialist Program is an international initiative that helps U.S. academics collaborate with universities in 140 countries.