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Island University Celebrates National Nurses Week with a New Mural Reflecting the History and Evolution of Nursing Education

May 08, 2015


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The history and evolution of nursing education in South Texas are represented in a new mural that now is on display in Island Hall.

In a celebration for National Nurses Week starting on Wednesday, May 6, community members and leaders of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, unveiled the mural “Carrying the Torch,” by artist Arnold Gonzales, with a reception and special guests.

“We are proud to recognize the past, present, and future of nursing in our area on a day that celebrates nurses’ contributions across the nation,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Nurses of today are scientists, researchers, and caring knowledge workers. And we are honored to recognize former nurses who have already made a significant impact locally, and our students who are sure to do the same as they enter the profession.”

This year’s Nurses Day theme, “Ethical Practice. Quality Care,” recognizes the importance of ethics in nursing and acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display in their practice and profession.

That theme is evident in the mural and the lives of those it features.

The mural honors visionary nurses from the community for their dedication to the advancement of the nursing profession and nursing education in the Coastal Bend throughout the last eight decades. 

The mural also features a depiction of Florence Nightingale, a nurse, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing, whose light shines over the mural.

“Artist Arnold Gonzales has created a work of art for our campus that will help us and those who follow in the footsteps of these women to remember and to be inspired by their dedication,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “We appreciate the talent and enthusiasm he brought to this project and look forward to ‘Carrying the Torch’ igniting and illuminating the path to nursing education for future generations.”

The mural was first unveiled April 9 in a special reception at the Art Museum of South Texas.

The 7.5-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide mural features 10 women, including

  • Dean Emeritus Ruth Bakke, Founder of the School of Nursing, Texas A&I University-Corpus Christi, now Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
  • Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean and Founder of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, TAMU-CC
  • Dr. Bunny Forgoine, Associate Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, TAMU-CC
  • Sister Christiana Bolle, Director of Spohn’s Dougherty School of Nursing
  • Sister Kathleen Coughlin, President of the Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi
  • Melinda Gonzales, Coordinator for Health Services at Corpus Christi Independent School District.