Newswise — Jane and Robert Cizik have made a landmark gift of $25 million to the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), giving the school the resources and capacity to shape the future of nursing education and health care delivery.
UTHealth President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., and UTHealth School of Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier, Ph.D., R.N., made the announcement this morning during an event attended by students, faculty, staff and friends outside the nursing school in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. In recognition of the Cizik family, the school 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. “The Cizik family name is synonymous with passion, devotion and service to the people of Houston, Texas and beyond. This transformational 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.”
Since its founding in 1972, the school has been recognized as a place where exceptional faculty members help high-achieving students learn, discover and practice the art and science of nursing. The school, which has almost 11,000 alumni and more than 1,600 current students, 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 said a deep appreciation for the nursing profession, the need to address the shortage of nurses and UTHealth’s stellar nursing programs motivated the family’s gift.
“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 for well-qualified nursing students; endow chairs to recruit, reward and retain outstanding nursing faculty members; provide a research endowment offering a perpetual source of funding for conducting innovative research; and create a distinguished lecture series.
“These endowments bring life to our vision and will change countless lives,” Frazier said. “Through this tremendous partnership with the Ciziks, we will have funds available to recruit and reward outstanding faculty to elevate our nursing school, be positioned to offer more scholarships to deserving students, and have the ability to inspire novel research that drives patient care.”
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. 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.”
Following the announcement, Phil Ferguson, chair of the UTHealth Development Board, said the Cizik family’s gift creates a remarkable legacy that will benefit the community for years to come while also setting the pace for another historic year of philanthropy at UTHealth.
“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate National Philanthropy Day than to recognize what the Ciziks do from their hearts to make a difference,” said Ferguson, former chair of the School of Nursing’s advisory council. “Their generosity and their commitment are helping to change the world one nurse at a time.”
The Ciziks are known for hard work, high achievement, inspirational leadership, love for their family and service to the community. Their 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 and is the first educational facility of its kind in The University of Texas System to be LEED® Gold-certified for sustainability. Jane Cizik is a lifetime member of PARTNERS, the school’s community support organization. The two were honorees at the UTHealth PARTNERS Spring Luncheon in 2010.
In addition to their support of UTHealth’s nursing school, 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 generously 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.
Of UTHealth’s six schools, the School of Nursing becomes the second to bear the name of a generous couple. In 2015, a transformational gift from the John P. McGovern Foundation renamed the university’s medical school John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
Established in 1972 by The University of Texas System Board of Regents, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is Houston’s Health University and Texas’ resource for health care education, innovation, scientific discovery and excellence in patient care. The most comprehensive academic health center in the UT System and the U.S. Gulf Coast region, UTHealth is home to Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing, John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School, and schools of biomedical informatics, biomedical sciences, dentistry and public health. UTHealth includes The University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center, as well as the growing clinical practices UT Physicians, UT Dentists and UT Health Services. The university’s primary teaching hospitals are Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. For more information, visit www.uth.edu.