Baylor Nursing School Honors Its Namesake

Sept. 28, 2007

by Frank Raczkiewicz

Louise Herrington Ornelas, for whom Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas is named, was recently honored by the Baylor family for her endless contributions to Baylor and the nursing profession in general.

"The Louise Herrington School of Nursing is a symbol of her determination and desire to take care of the needs of others," said Dr. Judy Wright Lott, dean of Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. "Her generous gifts to the LHSON have made it possible for many students to study to become nurses. Having the opportunity to recognize and honor her was one of the highlights of my life."

More than 300 people, including Baylor President John M. Lilley and Dean Lott, honored Ornelas at a dinner at the Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler. The dinner was in recognition for her support of nursing and educational programs, and her continued work to promote improvements in children's welfare and human rights. Following the dinner, Lott "pinned" Ornelas with the Louise Herrington School of Nursing pin that all nursing graduates receive upon graduation.

Co-founder of TCA Cable Inc., of Tyler and a 1992 Baylor University Alumna Honoris Causa, Ornelas was named Volunteer of the Year in Tyler in 1989 and was recognized for her altruism when she received Baylor's Herbert H. Reynolds Exemplary Service Award in 1996. She is a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, given by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, a 2005 recipient of the Heart of a Champion Award and was given the 2001 People of Vision award by the East Texas Regional Branch of Prevent Blindness Texas.

In 1999, Baylor's nursing school was renamed Louise Herrington School of Nursing, after the Tyler philanthropist made a $13 million endowment gift to the nursing school. It marked one of the largest financial gifts in Baylor's history.

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.

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