Dolores Sands Retiring after 20 Years as Dean of the School of Nursing

Aug. 19, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Dolores Sands, dean of the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin for the past 20 years, will retire on Aug. 31.

Dolores Sands
Dr. Dolores Sands

In recognition of the contributions Sands has made to the profession of nursing, the Texas flag that flies over the Texas State Capitol will be flown in her honor Aug. 31. The flag will later be given to her as a keepsake.

Sands said her decision to retire stems from a desire to spend more time with her family. She plans to move to The Woodlands near Houston to enjoy spending time with some of her grandchildren and their parents.

"Dolores Sands has left a remarkable legacy as our university's dean of the School of Nursing during the past two decades," said William Powers Jr., president of the university. "She has earned the respect of her colleagues as our university's senior dean and the admiration of the many people she has helped prepare to become a part of our nation's healthcare system. I feel fortunate to have worked with Dolores over the years and I assure you that her leadership, her compassion and her wisdom will be greatly missed by all of us."

Provost Steven Leslie said an interim dean would be announced soon.

"As dean, Dolores Sands has led with a very special blend of kindness, care giving and humor but also firmness, high expectations and a persistent focus on excellence," said Leslie. "These leadership qualities have served her well as she guided the building of the School of Nursing to where it is today, one of the very best schools of nursing in our country.

"It has been a privilege for me to have worked with Dolores over many years as a fellow dean and more recently as provost. She has been a leader among our deans as our senior dean and her absence at Deans Council meetings will leave a deep hole. We will miss Dolores Sands."

Sands, who has been dean of the School of Nursing since 1989, is holder of the Laura Lee Blanton Chair in Nursing and is the Joseph H. Blades Centennial Memorial Professor in Nursing.

Sands said her greatest achievement at the university has been to help create the organizational infrastructure that maximized the school's faculty development in teaching, research and service. The School of Nursing is now ranked 10th in National Institutes of Health funding among more than 650 schools of nursing in the nation.

"We have a great faculty, they deserve the credit," Sands said. She said she "fell in love with this wonderful faculty and this magnificent university" when she arrived on campus and is optimistic for the future of the School of Nursing. She said she hopes its Ph.D. program will become a Mecca, drawing brilliant researchers and faculty to meet the enormous need for people well prepared in the management and administration of hospitals.

Sands said she has observed that students entering the nursing profession share a "calling to help others" and has found that "nurses essentially have a love for humanity."

Sands received her bachelor of science and master of science degrees in nursing from Wayne State University and her Ph.D. in higher education/administration from Arizona State University. After her appointment as director of the Graduate Program in Nursing Administration, she also was acting dean, assistant dean for research and resources, and assistant dean for the baccalaureate program at Arizona State. From 1984-1989 she was professor and director of the Center for Health Care Research and Evaluation at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing until she was appointed dean in 1989.

For more information, contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of the President, 512 475 7847.

29 Comments to "Dolores Sands Retiring after 20 Years as Dean of the School of Nursing"

1.  Jessica Ruiz said on Aug. 19, 2009

We will miss Dean Sands very much! I wish you and your family the very best. Thank you for your years of dedication and service.

2.  Leslie Clark Thompson Ledbetter said on Aug. 20, 2009

Dean Sands was such an inspiration during my time at the School of Nursing. She is a gracious lady, a fine nurse and a one-of-a-kind dean, and she will be missed. I am especially sad that my own daughters will miss out on her legacy when they attend the university. Best wishes, Dean Sands, and enjoy the next 20.

3.  Julien Carter said on Aug. 20, 2009

Dean Sands,

I can't believe you are retiring. You will be greatly missed.


4.  Caroline Enriquez said on Aug. 21, 2009

It has been a pleasure to work with Dean Sands in the undergraduate admissions process. Her leadership will be missed greatly. Best wishes in this new chapter of your life!

5.  Sue Leander said on Aug. 24, 2009

Dear Dolores:
You have brought so many advancements to the School of Nursing. The students, faculty and the university are fortunate to have had your leadership. It was a pleasure to have worked with you through the Development Office. Best wishes for a wonderful retirement. You deserve it!

6.  Seth Gregory said on Aug. 24, 2009

Dean Sands: Over the years you have shown me tremendous support. I thank you for the words of wisdom and encouragement that always came from meetings with you. Enjoy retirement.

Seth Gregory

7.  Mitchell Gutierrez said on Aug. 24, 2009

I am most upset. We will miss you, ma'am.

8.  Kathleen Aronson said on Aug. 24, 2009

Dean Sands,

You served the School of Nursing with admirable passion and integrity, and the university is the better for it. It was an honor to have worked with you!


9.  ana m. valadez said on Aug. 25, 2009

Dolores, you have always represented the school so elegantly, and I wish you the very best in your retirement. I also enjoyed your humor and your vast amount of knowledge, and you will always stand out as one of the best of the very best. Happy retirement!!

10.  Elizabeth Anderson said on Aug. 25, 2009

Dolores, I will always remember how great it was to work with you. We had many collaborative projects [UT Austin and UTMB] and your leadership certainly was a major factor in their success. On a personal note: retirement is wonderful. Take time to smell lots of roses, enjoy your family, and just do what you want to do. Peace and health to you! Bets

11.  Mark Yudof said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dolores, you have been a fabulous dean, and you are also a person of genuine warmth, empathy and integrity. I congratulate you on a job well done, over so many years. Regards to Art. Mark

12.  Maria Aleman said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dear Dean Sands,
You are a great inspiration to many, and therefore many will miss you. I salute you as one of the finest deans at the university with whom I had the honor to work.
Maria Aleman

13.  Christine Morgan Delmas '70 said on Aug. 27, 2009

Congrats, Dean Sands! Although I was well-graduated by the time you came to my alma mater ('70), I have observed with interest and pride how you have further developed our School of Nursing, of which I'm proud to be an alum. Of my three degrees (B.S.N., M.P.H., J.D.), I'm pointing to my undergrad education, out of a "barracks" building at the time, as the most intellectually demanding, and I'm proud of the way the university develops "out-of-the-box" thinkers.

Best wishes in your retirement, from here in the Navajo Nation, Arizona, where I practice public health nursing.

14.  John Adkins said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dean Sands,

I have enjoyed getting to know you through the Texas Exes, and look forward to welcoming you to the Houston area. Thanks again for your devoted service to The University of Texas at Austin.


15.  Evelyn M. Wills said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dean Sands,

I admired you when I worked with you in the Center for Research and Evaluation (1988-89) as a graduate assistant, and I have only increased that admiration throughout the years as I saw the School of Nursing advance. I wish you the best in your new life in retirement. You deserve only the best and most interesting activities.


16.  Jeanette Noyes McMullen said on Aug. 27, 2009

I was The University of Texas at Austin Nursing Student Association president for my last semester of nursing in 1994. I so appreciated working with you, Dean Sands. I am sure retirement will allow you so much more time with your family. In this article, it states you will be moving to The Woodlands. Well, if you or your family ever needs a great nurse, I am here in The Woodlands at St. Luke's The Woodlands Hospital Family Birthing Center! I hope you stop by (healthy, of course) to see what your school has done for me.

Jeanette Noyes McMullen (Alumna, December 1994)

17.  Wesley Van Horn said on Aug. 27, 2009

Best wishes to you in retirement! You may remember me. I used to roller skate in the lobby at the school as a gimmick for The University of Texas at Austin Nursing Student Association fundraising (1997 graduate).

18.  Carolyn Gunning said on Aug. 27, 2009


Nursing education in Texas will not be the same without your wisdom, courage and humor. You have not only advanced nursing education at The University of Texas at Austin, but throughout Texas and the nation. My best wishes to you. Retirement is great, and you deserve to have time to enjoy family and friends.


19.  Ann Shopoff said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dean Sands,

You have been an incredible asset to the students, faculty and alumni of the Nursing School. As an alumnus, you have made me feel that I was a valuable asset to the school. Thank you for that personal touch.

20.  Harold Billings said on Aug. 27, 2009

Dolores, I shared wonderful times with many deans during the years I spent at the university, but I cannot think of one who contributed more wisdom, humor and the production of so many great nurses. You maintained wonderful programs, a fine school and great company. Have a superb retirement! Love -- Harold

21.  Kathy Halligan, MSN said on Aug. 27, 2009

I am saddened to hear that Dean Sands is leaving The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. She was an inspiration to me as a graduate student, and I always enjoyed seeing her whenever I got back to Austin. She will be missed.

22.  Sharon J. Wilson said on Aug. 28, 2009

Dear Dolores,

Your leadership at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing will be missed. I have benefited personally and professionally from your enthusiasm for nursing education and your sense of humor. I understand your desire to be near family, as I moved to Seattle just for that reason and have never regretted it. At least you don't have to leave Texas, and you will have friends where ever you may go--the eyes of Texas are upon you all the live long day!
Take care,
Sharon Wilson

23.  Evelyn Malone-Hicks said on Aug. 28, 2009

I entered nursing school the first year Dean Sands started at The University of Texas at Austin (B.S.N. '91) Her leadership and direction helped to shape the course of my career and changed my life. I wish her well, and I'm so happy for her grandchildren, for they are truly blessed! Good luck!

24.  Paula Day said on Aug. 28, 2009

Dean Sands: When my daughter graduated from the College of Communication three years ago, I sat on the lawn and heard you say, "Every one of you will need a nurse some day." I was so proud of you and what you stood for. Thank you most sincerely for your dedication to our profession. Paula Day, RN, BSN, OCN

25.  Jan Wayland, PhD, RN said on Aug. 28, 2009

Dean Sands: I was a research assistant when you were director of the research center in 1985-86. It was delightful and inspiring to work with you. Those are some of the most memorable months and years of my professional life. Thank you so much. Jan Wayland

26.  Elsie Karen Shelton said on Aug. 30, 2009

Dean Sands: You were an inspiration to all of the graduating class of December 1999, regardless of our distress over the "Capstone" experiment. It certainly helped prepare me for my role as an Army nurse. Best wishes on your retirement. Enjoy your children and grandchildren as long as you can.

27.  Fred J. Curry said on Aug. 30, 2009

Dean Sands is the reason that my wife and I started the Fred J. and Jann Curry Endowed Scholarship in Nursing. After meeting her and understanding her value system, and her love for students, I was in complete awe. This wonderful lady is not replaceable. I hope she has a wonderful retirement. No one deserves it more.

28.  Carolina Huerta said on Sept. 9, 2009

Dolores, you caught me by complete surprise. I have truly enjoyed working with you. Your sense of humor and acute perception of situations made my time with you at those terribly long meetings seem so short. i hope you enjoy your family and relax because you do deserve that. Canie

29.  Dee Dee Nolte said on Sept. 14, 2009

Dean Sands: What a loss to UT! Your care as dean, over the Nursing School facilities, was unmatched on campus. I had the great pleasure to hear your ideas and see your dedication to each project. You deserve a retirement that is as exceptional as your professional career. Dee Dee