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

Posted: August 20, 2009

Dean Dolores Sands

Dean Dolores Sands

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

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

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.