DATE:  October 4, 2004
CONTACT: Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, (361) 825-2649; Melissa Goonan, Public Affairs Manager, (361) 825-2337, cell (361) 813-6409
AUDIO: College of Nursing and Health Science
Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton to be Installed as Dean of University’s New College of Nursing and Health Sciences
A&M-Corpus Christi’s fifth College will address nationwide nursing shortage

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will mark a major milestone in its 57-year evolution on Thursday, Oct. 7 with the official Dean’s convocation and installation of Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton as the Dean of the University’s new College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The convocation is the University’s first to install the dean of a new college. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. at in the University Center Lonestar Ballroom with faculty in full regalia. A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Prior to the ceremony, Dr. Claudia Johnston, associate vice president for academic affairs, will speak on the history of the College of Nursing. Provost Dr. Sandra Harper will deliver the “charge,” the formal call to Dr. Hamilton and the College of Nursing to face the challenges of the future.

Last year, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unanimously approved the creation of the University’s fifth college. The formation of the new college also reflects A&M-Corpus Christi’s accelerated effort to address the nationwide nursing shortage. The shortage is especially acute in South Texas which, excluding Bexar County, has the lowest percentage of nurses per 100,000-population in the state.

The School of Nursing and Health Sciences was formerly part of the University’s College of Science and Technology. The new college opens with 528 undergraduate students, 195 graduate students, 25 faculty and nine staff.

“I’m very excited about the possibilities that are developing,” Hamilton said. “We are partnering with medical centers and systems. The opportunities are endless.”

According to Dr. Harper, the rapid growth of the nursing school was instrumental in its restructuring as a college. Enrollment in the program doubled over the past two years, and the program boasts a 95.58 percent pass rate on its board examinations.  The number of majors in the College of Science and Technology was also a significant factor in the decision to create the new college.