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Gift to nursing education center honors former faculty member

Gift to nursing education center honors former faculty member

Dr. LaVerne Gallman

When Priscilla Nicholson ’78 recently heard UMHB was building a state-of-the-art nursing education center, she wanted to make sure the woman who played an important role in the history of the school’s nursing program received special recognition. Nicholson recently pledged $50,000 to name the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center’s dean’s suite in honor of the department’s first chairperson, Dr. LaVerne Gallman.

“Dr. Gallman is a pioneer for the nursing program, so I felt it was important that something in the new building bear her name. When I heard that my gift could help leverage additional funds for UMHB from two challenge grants, I knew this would be the perfect way to honor Dr. Gallman,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson attended the UMHB nursing program during a defining time in its history. In the mid-1960s, scientific advances and the changing role in the education of all professionals led the American Nurses Association to begin requiring all registered nurses have a baccalaureate degree. In response to this new requirement, the Scott & White nursing diploma program transitioned to become a baccalaureate nursing program at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

During this same time, the changing education standards compelled Nicholson, who had graduated from a diploma program and worked as a nurse for almost two decades, to go back to school to earn her BSN. She enrolled in Mary Hardin-Baylor’s newly established nursing program in 1973.

It was during this time that Nicholson first met Gallman, who had been instrumental in transitioning the nursing department into a baccalaureate program. Gallman also served as a faculty member and was the department’s first chairperson. She was well-known throughout the state, and particularly in Bell County, as a published researcher and speaker in the areas of nursing education, accreditation processes, and gerontology.

“I was very impressed with Dr. Gallman. She was so knowledgeable and accomplished in her profession and was the first nurse I had ever met with a doctorate degree. I really admired her,” Nicholson said.

UMHB Distinguished Professor Dr. Linda Pehl, who served on the nursing faculty with Gallman, said Nicholson’s gift pays homage to one of the nursing program’s greatest assets. “Dr. Gallman’s influence on the nursing profession not only applies to UMHB but also spreads across Texas and throughout the United States. Many of the deans, directors, and faculty in nursing programs across Texas had Dr. Gallman as one of their instructors and were influenced by her professionally. She is certainly deserving of this honor.”

-Jennifer Meers Jones ’08