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Peavys Make Largest Gift in UST History to Name Nursing School

Michele Malloy, Odis Peavy, Carol Peavy and Dr. Robert IvanyDuring the University of St. Thomas commencement ceremony Saturday at Reliant Arena, President Robert Ivany announced the largest gift in the University’s history.  The University intends to recognize Odis Peavy and his wife Carol’s generosity by naming the nursing school in their honor.

“Odis and Carol’s contribution reaches far beyond the University of St. Thomas,” Ivany said. “Our faith-based, holistic nurses will heal thousands of patients and touch countless lives.  We are immensely grateful to Odis and Carol for their continued leadership and hope their generosity inspires others.”

Subject to board approval on June 5, the UST School of Nursing will be renamed the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing in perpetuity. The school reopened in 2012 after a 26-year hiatus, in large part because of the personal dedication of Carol Peavy, a nursing alumna and former UST nursing faculty member.

Carol and Odis PeavyThe Peavy gift supports UST’s effort to rapidly complete funding for the Center for Science and Health Professions (CSHP), the permanent home for the School of Nursing. The gift brings total CSHP commitments to $21.5 million – nearly half the total needed to break ground on the main building in early 2015.

The CSHP building is one part of the university’s comprehensive $170 million Faith in Our Future campaign.

In addition to this most recent gift, the Peavys made significant contributions in 2008 to kick-start fundraising to re-establish the nursing school.

“The Peavys’ philanthropic leadership served as a catalyst for the Associated Nursing Alumni, several Houston foundations and many generous individuals.  We succeeded in raising over $15 million for this initiative,” Ivany said.

The gift announcement occurred at the commencement ceremony that featured the first graduating class of the re-established nursing school. Twenty-seven students earned Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees Saturday.

2014 Nursing Seniors“At UST, we help students experience nursing as a challenging profession, a call to service and a healing ministry,” said Dr. Poldi Tschirch, dean of the UST School of Nursing. She received the prestigious 2011 President’s Award from the Texas Nurses Association District 9 and was named a 2014 Top Nurse in the Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses.

In just six years, led by Tschirch, the school has received Texas Board of Nursing approval, funded five endowed faculty chairs, equipped nursing classrooms and two simulation labs, recruited nursing majors and quality faculty, and in February, received a positive report from the site visit team of the prestigious nursing school accrediting body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). A vote on UST’s CCNE national accreditation is expected this fall.

For more information on the UST School of Nursing, go to