Martin scholarship to help Victoria nursing graduate students

Julia Martin, right, holds a signed agreement with Kathryn Tart to establish the Dr. Thomas L. Martin Scholarship for graduate nursing students.

Julia Martin, right, holds a signed agreement with Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing, to establish the Dr. Thomas L. Martin Scholarship for graduate nursing students.

The medical legacy of a longtime Victoria obstetrician-gynecologist will continue with a scholarship to aid graduate nursing students at the University of Houston-Victoria.

This year, the first recipients of the Dr. Thomas L. Martin Scholarship will be selected by the UHV Nursing Scholarship Committee. Preference will be given to students who:

Are certified, full-time, graduate-level students in the School of Nursing. Are residents of Victoria County or the six adjacent counties. Exhibit leadership qualities. Maintain at least a 2.5 grade-point average.

To teach at the university level, nurses must have at least a Master of Science in Nursing. The scholarship will help aspiring nursing educators get the education they need, said Kathy Rose, development director for the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where the UHV School of Nursing provides the nursing program.

Martin practiced medicine in Victoria for 44 years and was on the committee of educators and business people who brought the University of Houston to the Victoria community. The scholarship in his honor was funded with a gift of $5,090 – half of which his friends and patients gave in memory of him after his death in November of 2008, and the other half of which was a matching contribution by his family and wife, Julia Martin of Houston.

The nursing profession always has been central to the Martin family, Julia said. She and Thomas met in 1953 at the former Jefferson Davis County Hospital in Houston, where he was doing his OB-GYN residency and she was teaching obstetrical nursing. A couple of years later, they got married and moved to Victoria, where they resided until 2005.

“The nursing profession is very important to the medical community in Victoria, which was the center of his professional life there,” Julia said. “The nursing profession is desperate for educators, and you can’t have nurses if you don’t have the teachers to teach them.”

Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing, concurred.

“This scholarship will help the nursing school produce more nursing educators for the State of Texas, and that’s where the real crunch lies in the state, is with the lack of nurse educators,” she said. “The more nurse educators we have, the more students we can admit to our schools to help alleviate the nursing shortage.”

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.

Paula Cobler