Millions Donated to Alleviate Nursing Shortage
Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance has announced a generous gift of $10 million from the Hunt Family Foundation to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). The donation will be used to develop an autonomous, fully-accredited nursing school at the TTUHSC campus in El Paso.
The school will be named the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing. Gayle Greve Hunt is the wife of Woody L. Hunt, chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation and CEO of the Hunt Companies, headquartered in El Paso.
“On behalf of the Foundation, the Hunt family is proud to lend support to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center by establishing this nursing school,” Woody Hunt said.
He also added that the gift is intended to meet several critical needs within the El Paso area.
“We believe this type of initiative promotes strategic economic development that is in line with El Paso’s vision for broader educational attainment as well as meeting our border health challenges,” Woody Hunt said.
Chancellor Hance praised the Hunt family for their generosity, which will enhance educational opportunities for future generations and improve health care in the state of Texas and across the nation.
“We are honored to name the future El Paso nursing school after Gayle Hunt,” Hance said. “The Hunt family has been a tremendous friend and supporter over the years, and thanks to this contribution, we will continue to serve our communities through unrivalled teaching, research and patient care.”
Woody Hunt went on to explain that the El Paso vision for higher education was outlined in the Blueprint for Global Competiveness in the Paso del Norte Region, prepared last year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“We believe this new nursing school can be a major building block within that blueprint,” Woody Hunt said. “Our foundation’s commitment to Texas Tech for the development of its nursing school is intended to build additional capacity for the preparation of health care professionals in the Paso del Norte region. It is meant to complement the nursing education and research programs at other regional institutions, and to work in a collaborative manner, per that OECD blueprint.”
As the state’s rapidly growing population ages and the need for care increases, there is a greater demand for nurses. To address this challenge, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the process of establishing an additional, freestanding nursing school in El Paso earlier this year.
In 2009, Texas faced a shortage of an estimated 20,000 nurses. El Paso is the fourth most populous city in the state with a population of more than 700,000. When combined with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the area’s population increases to about 2.2 million. With such an immense population, this region has been federally designated as a medically underserved area.
TTUHSC is well positioned to establish a freestanding nursing school in El Paso. In 2008, university administrators took the first step by implementing an accelerated Second Degree Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. A regional dean was recruited along with the necessary faculty to support this inaugural program.
In August 2009, nursing programs were expanded to include a traditional BSN program, which now has approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to increase enrollment to 40 students. It is anticipated that the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing in El Paso will have an enrollment of 500 students by 2015.
In the future, the Texas Tech University System strives to establish a full-fledged health sciences center in El Paso.
The gift from Woody and Gayle Hunt (pictured above) will develop a nursing school and meet several critical needs within the El Paso area.