Like mother, like daughter
Mother and daughter who graduated together from the College of Nursing in 1976 return to tour new nursing center
As Linda Pate Dufner ’76 and her mother Mary Pate ’76 toured the new Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center on a crisp day last December, their eyes lit up as College of Nursing Dean Sharon Souter explained the facility’s features. Their excitement made it clear that the mother-daughter duo share a common passion for nursing. In fact, not only do the two share the same career, but they also graduated from the UMHB nursing program together in 1976.
Mary completed the Scott & White nursing diploma program in the 1950s and had worked as a pediatric nurse for many years in Temple and Georgetown. After finishing high school, Linda decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a nurse. She enrolled at Mary Hardin-Baylor and moved into Burt Hall on campus.
“Linda started bringing home her nursing books, and I felt like I was so far behind. The great debate back then was what was going to be accepted as the entrance into professional nursing,” Mary said, alluding to the changing standards that led the American Nursing Association to begin recommending registered nurses have a baccalaureate degree in the mid-1960s.
This change compelled Mary to go back to school to earn her BSN. So a year after her daughter enrolled at Mary Hardin-Baylor, Mary decided she would do the same.
“The night I came onto campus for my first class, Linda was sitting out on the steps waiting for me to get there so she could show me where I needed go. Some of her friends told her, ‘We’d just have a fit if our mother was in class with us!’ It had never even dawned on me that she might not want me there,” Mary joked, laughing.
Linda was quick to say that she enjoyed sharing the experience with her mom.
“We always had fun,” Linda said. “I enjoyed having my mother in classes with me. People couldn’t believe we were mother and daughter.”
Mary is now a retired nurse, after working for over three decades with the Georgetown health department. Linda has served as an emergency room nurse, a shift supervisor, nurse manager of an oncology unit, and now works in quality control at a hospital in Oregon. Both contribute their successful careers to the education they received at UMHB. After touring the new building, they are even more excited about what the future holds for the university’s nursing program.
“There are so many more complicated surgeries and procedures than there used to be, especially when I was in diploma school,” Mary said. “We certainly need a building like this to prepare today’s students.”
“The hands-on learning experiences this new building provides for students is invaluable. The facilities and simulations are so similar to a real hospital setting—it’s almost like the students have already been working in a hospital by the time they go out into the workforce.”
-Jennifer Meers Jones ’08