School of Nursing launches Friends of Nursing with $1,000 donation

Friends of Nursing care packages filled with snacks, earplugs and thumb drives are ready to hand out to University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing students. The packages were made possible thanks to a $1,000 donation from Gary and Alice Childress.


Thanks to the generosity of a Victoria couple, nearly 50 University of Houston-Victoria undergraduate nursing students received care packages prior to taking final exams last week.

Gary and Alice Childress donated $1,000 to the UHV School of Nursing to start the Friends of Nursing. The purpose of the new program is to provide support to nursing students through events, scholarships, care packages and meals.

Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing, said the donation was a surprise. The check arrived unannounced in the mail.

“It was out of the blue and wonderful,” Tart said. “They are the inaugural donors for this much-needed initiative. They made the donation because they wanted to support those who are going into the nursing profession.”

Tart said that while students are busy with school and work, they look forward to occasional activities outside of regular classes. Some future activities could include a hot meal during finals week, coffee with the dean, student scholarships or money for emergency situations, such as when a student’s computer stops working.

The $1,000 provided the seed money to launch the Friends of Nursing.

“One of the first things we did is made 47 care packages for undergraduate students,” Tart said. “The packages included a thumb drive, candy, nuts, energy bars, energy drinks and earplugs for final exams. We thought the items would be useful and show student support.”

Gary Childress said he read an article in The Alcalde, the University of Texas alumni magazine, about how another Victoria couple, Claud and Mary Virginia Jacobs, funded a nursing scholarship. Childress said the article inspired him and his wife to make a donation to the UHV School of Nursing.

Starting the Friends of Nursing is a great cause, Childress said. When their children were college students, the school’s association for parents would supply treats during finals week.

“It struck a chord with us because our children really enjoyed getting those extra little items during finals,” Childress said. “It shows the students that people care about you.”

Childress said they have been friends with Tart for a long time and were happy to help her start the new initiative.

The Friends of Nursing is open to the public. For more information or to join, send an email to

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro