DATE:  March 27, 2008
CONTACT: Marshall Collins, 361.825.2427
Former College Dean Ruth Bakke Dies at Age 69.
Laid Groundwork for University’s Nursing Program.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Dr. Ruth M. Bakke, who is credited for creating the nursing program and several research centers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, died today (March 27) in Las Vegas, Nevada, at age 69.

Dr. Bakke retired from the University in 1994 after serving 20 years and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, shortly afterward to live near her relatives.

Dr. Bakke joined the University in 1974 as associate professor and director of the nursing program. She served as acting dean of the College of Science and Technology in 1979 and was named dean shortly after, serving 15 years in that position until her retirement in 1994. Prior to joining the University, Dr. Bakke spent two years as the deputy project director and nurse practitioner for the Children and Youth Project at Driscoll Foundation Children’s Hospital.

As dean of the College of Science and Technology, she is noted for establishing the University’s nursing program, and saw the development of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. The “RN to BSN” created under her direction was the first such program in Texas. Today the nursing program is housed within its own College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

While dean, master’s degree programs were created in the College of Science and Technology in mariculture and mathematics. Centers of excellence established included the Center for Coastal Studies, Center for Water Supply Studies, Center for Statistical & Quality Improvement Services, and the Blucher Institute for Surveying & Science.

Upon her retirement in summer 1994, Dr. Bakke was named dean emeritus of the University. An annual scholarship fund for College of Science and Technology students bears her name.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Carroll College in Montana, her master’s degree in maternal/child nursing from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas in Austin.
She earned her pediatric nurse practitioner from the University of Texas at Galveston.

Her friends and professional associates remember Dr. Bakke as very community oriented because of her involvement in a reading program broadcast on radio for the blind, being engaged in animal rights issues, tutoring disabled children in reading skills, and being a proponent of health care education.

A memorial scholarship fund has been created for students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Donations can be made by contacting the Division of Institutional Advancement at (361) 825-5559.