|Mark Montondon ’78/’85|
In 1978, Ben Taub General Hospital only hired emergency room nurses who had at least two years of full-time clinical experience. But Mark Montondon was hired the day after he graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing.
Montondon said a UST 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,” Montondon said.
Before he came to UST, Montondon described himself as a mediocre student with a lot of potential. He credits St. Thomas with providing the direction and academic and spiritual guidance to help him become successful. Montondon returned to UST in 1985 to earn a Master in Business Administration. He currently serves as vice president for SightLine Health of Houston.
“I needed to be in an environment with the right degree of attention and latitude,” he said. “UST was perfect for that. The dean knew me by name, but I didn’t feel like I was being babysat in high school anymore. With no tolerance for lack of academic performance, we had a lot of self-applied pressure. They were some of best days of my life.”
Montondon said UST’s faith-based education has made a lasting impact on his career decisions and spiritual life.
“When values and ethics are reinforced in an educational setting, you feel the effects of that foundation for the rest of your life,” he said. “It inspires you to seek out people and organizations that are mission-driven.
“The University brought me a lot closer to my faith,” Montondon said. “My experience at UST taught me to be more accepting of others. At UST, I was exposed to a great deal of diversity, and I saw Catholics who were open, accepting and nurturing to others outside the faith, and it made me very proud to be Catholic."