Texas first lady Anita Perry touted the importance of quality nursing education at a ceremony recently announcing the naming of the Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
"I am deeply humbled by this great honor," she said in a news release. "The years I spent as a nurse were among the most challenging and rewarding of my life. Today, nursing continues to be a passion of mine as I work to raise awareness of important public health issues facing our state and nation, including the critical nursing shortage."
Perry, a Haskell County native married to Gov. Rick Perry, said she was inspired by her father's life service as a family physician. Anita Perry spent 17 years working in the health care field and has maintained a commitment and passion for health care issues as first lady.
Perry studied at Texas Tech University before earning her bachelor's degree at West Texas State University, now West Texas A&M University. She earned a master's degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and held various nursing positions in the areas of surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, administration and teaching.
Perry continues to prioritize the well-being of Texans by promoting vital health care issues, encouraging young Texans to aid in the critical nursing shortage and speaking on health concerns that affect Texans of all ages, such as heart disease prevention and breast cancer awareness.
"Mrs. Perry is an advocate for the nursing profession as well as improving health care for this state," TTUHSC President John C. Baldwin said. "Our TTUHSC School of Nursing has an exceptional reputation for excellence, and now with this new name, the Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing, the first lady adds her distinguished presence to this school."
The school of nursing, which graduated 450 students in 2007, has the second-highest number of students earning nursing degrees in the state. It was ranked as a top school for nursing by U.S. News and World Report from 2003 to 2006.