Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Emily Frances Cornett was born in San Antonio, Texas, on June 3, 1932, to Lillian Smith and Gilbert Cornett. She grew up in Pearsall, Texas, and had one sister, Martha Glass. A nephew, John, and his daughter, Emalee, survive her. Emily died on February 3, 2012, at West Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, where she had resided during her last year. At the time of her death, she was recognized in the Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing in Galveston, Texas, where she had begun her nursing education by earning a bachelor’s degree.

Her first professional nursing position was in the tuberculosis unit at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Later, she worked in the Shriner’s burn institute. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in nursing service administration from The University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Emily completed Public Health Care and Medical Services at the University of Oslo in Norway. She continued her education by earning a post-master’s certificate in physiological nursing from the University of Washington in Seattle. After returning to Texas, Emily completed her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1977.

In 1970, Dr. Cornett began her academic career at The University of Texas at Austin, where she worked until her retirement as associate professor in 1997. She was beloved as an instructor and colleague and was honored with several teaching awards, including the Billye J. Brown Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, which she received not once, but twice! Her long list of awards includes the prestigious Ex-Students’ Association Outstanding Teaching Award and the Texas Nursing Students’ Association Outstanding Faculty Award. On one occasion, her students presented Emily with an engraved, bronzed plaque that read, “Dr. Cornett, thank you for our sanity.”

In 1991, Emily published the first edition of a book she co-authored with her colleague, Dr. Dorothy Blume, entitled Dosages and Solutions: A Programmed Approach to Meds and Math. This book was an important resource for many students, not only at The University of Texas at Austin, but was widely used across the nation.

Emily was also active in professional organizations. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Nurses Association, District 6, for her many years of dedicated service to this organization. She was instrumental in establishing the nursing’s honor society Epsilon Theta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. Later, she received an award for Outstanding Service by the Epsilon Theta chapter in recognition of her many contributions to the development of this professional organization, which remains an important component of The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.

Although Emily never sought the spotlight, she dedicated herself to a lifetime of community service and compassionate caring. She was an inspiration to the hundreds of undergraduate and graduate nursing students with whom she worked. Her confidence, enthusiasm, happy smile, and ‘can-do’ attitude were apparent in her classrooms, her office, and in the many corners of the School of Nursing where she quietly demonstrated what it means to be a professional nurse.


William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professor Lynn Rew (chair), Associate Professor Mary Lou Adams, and Instructor Sarah Peters.