Tyler Philanthropist Gives $13 Million to Baylor School of Nursing

Nov. 10, 1999

by Larry D. Brumley

Louise Herrington Ornelas, co-founder of TCA Cable Inc., of Tyler and a 1992 Baylor University Alumna Honoris Causa, has made a $13 million endowment gift to the Baylor School of Nursing, Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. announced Nov. 10. This commitment represents the third-largest gift from an individual in Baylor's 154-year history.

In recognition of Ornelas' long and generous support of the nursing program, the school will be named the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

"This very substantial gift from Mrs. Ornelas ensures that the Baylor School of Nursing, already widely known for its quality, will be able to further expand its influence in nursing education and prepare future generations of health care professionals," Dr. Sloan said. "We are profoundly grateful to Mrs. Ornelas for demonstrating in such a tangible way her support for the Baylor School of Nursing and its students and faculty."

"This gift establishes new horizons which will enable us to realize our full potential in educating nursing leaders in a Christian environment for worldwide service in the future," Nursing Dean Phyllis Karns said.

A recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, Ornelas has not only demonstrated great acumen in her business affairs, she also has shown an enduring love and compassion for others. In 1989 she was named Volunteer of the Year in Tyler and was recognized for her altruism when she received Baylor's Herbert H. Reynolds Exemplary Service Award in 1996.

Ornelas and her husband, Joseph, are members of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler. She is the mother of five: Rick, Becky, Randy, Rusty and Cindy, and has 10 grandchildren. Three of her children - Randy ('82), Becky ('83) and Rusty ('86) - are graduates of Baylor. Three of her grandchildren - Michelle Rogers Drewett ('92), Andrea Rogers Lazenby ('94) and Richard Rogers Jr. ('97) - are also Baylor graduates. Andrea and Richard graduated from the School of Nursing.

The Baylor School of Nursing was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first bachelor of science in nursing degrees were awarded in 1954, establishing the school as one of the oldest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States.

Accredited by the National League for Nursing and by the Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas, the School of Nursing is centrally located just east of downtown Dallas on the campus of Baylor University Medical Center. An upper-level (junior and senior years) program, the School of Nursing offers a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a master of science in nursing degree in both patient care management and family nurse practitioner programs. Nearly 100 percent of Baylor School of Nursing graduates who seek employment upon graduation find a position within one month and most are employed upon graduation.

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