A Former Graduate of the Nursing Program

Evonne Cummings ’79

Evonne Cummings will never forget the day she skipped Father Jack Hanna’s Spanish class. Inevitably, she had to face the music when she ran into Fr. Hanna on campus later that day. She never skipped a class again.

Cummings, who graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing in 1979, recalled the small class sizes and committed instructors at UST created an environment which left no room for wallflowers with lackluster academic performance. Cummings has worked in the nursing field for 30 years, and currently serves as an instructor of nursing at Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

“I was really impressed that I would be in a class where my instructors would actually know my name, and they would know when I wasn’t fulfilling my potential,” Cummings said. “At St. Thomas, there is a greater accountability that you don’t find at other schools.”

“In my experience, many nurses don’t always see the importance of integrity, ethics, values, morals,” Cummings said.  “Those ideals and expectations were understood at St. Thomas, and they were embedded in the curriculum. I think a program that emphasizes those values is needed again.”

Working in nursing education, Cummings has a first-hand experience with the shortage of nurses. She explained that nursing schools are limiting their admissions because there is not enough faculty to teach the next generation of nurses.  The nursing faculty shortage exists because baby boomers are retiring, and experienced nurses are taking on other expanded roles in favor of teaching.

“Houston needs the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing to increase the number of nurses, and to produce nurses who have strong, liberal arts backgrounds, critical thinking skills, clinical training as well as values of integrity and ethics and common courtesy and manners,” Cummings said. “UST taught me that it’s not enough to know the scientific rationales, you have to have heart.”



A Former Graduate of the Nursing Program


“A University of St. Thomas nursing diploma delivered the competitive edge in nursing job interviews. When employers saw I graduated from St. Thomas, there was a pause and a silent acknowledgement that I had gone to the best nursing program,” Montondon said. “Without discussing it, they knew I had been better trained than most other job candidates. The University of St. Thomas School of Nursing had an incredible reputation. I have no doubt I got a great job right out of college because I carried a UST degree.

There is a need for good nurses out there, and there is a need for nurses who are trained with the kind of values and skills that UST is known for providing,”

-Mark Montondon


  • December 2010
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