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Meyers Gift Strengthens Nursing Excellence at UTSW

Howard Meyers created The Rory Meyers Advanced Education Program for Nursing Excellence at UT Southwestern to celebrate the life of his wife of 46 years, Rose-Marie (Rory) Mangeri Meyers.

Rory was an accomplished nurse leader and humanitarian with a deep understanding of the transformational role that nurses offer to patients across their life span.

With support from a generous $5 million endowment, the program will provide tuition support for UTSW nurses to pursue advanced degrees and certifications that will prepare them for expanded leadership roles in UTSW’s growing health care system. The gift will support the development of future leaders in nursing while helping to solidify UTSW’s role as a national leader in nursing excellence. UTSW has achieved Magnet designation for nursing excellence, the highest honor awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“The family of Rory Meyers has created a lasting legacy as a tribute to her lifelong commitment to the nursing profession that will inspire our nurse colleagues at UT Southwestern for generations to come,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.

“Advanced training promotes excellence in leadership, not only in clinical care but also in nursing education and research. We are grateful for this extraordinary gift that celebrates elevating the care of our patients and our institution as a whole.”

From a young age, Rory exhibited a deep passion for helping others. She was born in the Bronx in New York City and was the first in her immediate family to graduate from college. She worked as a registered nurse with the New York City Department of Public Health and Education, Medical Health Clinic at the Mobil Oil headquarters, and in various hospitals in New York City, often in the emergency room, which she found most rewarding.

In 1974, after Rory and Howard married, they relocated to Dallas. Rory found great purpose in raising her two sons, Craig and Kevin. Always full of compassion, she gave generously of herself to many civic and community organizations supporting early childhood education, medical causes, ecological initiatives, and the development of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum. Family and friends described her as a woman with a heart of gold who embodied the virtues of grace and empathy. She was a gifted chef, an avid gardener, and a loving dog-mom.

“More than 19 years ago, Rory recognized that she had a form of dementia. Her condition significantly deteriorated over the last six years of her life. On Dec. 28, 2020, she passed away peacefully at our home with family at her bedside. Through this gift to support nursing excellence, Craig, Kevin, and I are grateful to preserve her beloved memory,” said Howard.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

A family of nurses, two men and four women
Nursing is a family calling for Stephanie Huckaby, third from left, pictured here with her children and their spouses, from left, Hayden and Courtney Huckaby, who both work as nurses at UT Southwestern’s Clements University Hospital; Kaley Huckaby, a medical-surgical nursing resident at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas; and Chelsea and Jeremy Cronin, who both work as nurses at Methodist Charlton.

A Family of Nurses

Stephanie Huckaby, Director of Nursing, Inpatient Surgical Specialty Services at UTSW, is one nurse who hopes to benefit from the Meyers’ generosity.

A registered nurse for more than 28 years, Mrs. Huckaby joined UTSW as a Nurse Manager in 2001 and was promoted to her present position in 2009. Starting with an associate degree, she has been a lifelong learner, later earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees while balancing the demands of a full-time job with raising three children. She was still paying off her own college debt when her children decided to follow in her footsteps and pursue nursing careers. Two of her children are now nurses at UTSW, and she hopes to someday see them all pursue advanced nursing degrees.

In 2017, Mrs. Huckaby began work toward a doctorate in nursing but quit school due to lack of financial resources. “Tuition support lessens the financial burden for nurses seeking advanced degrees,” she said. “Advanced training enables nurses to understand how to keep current on best practices in patient care and apply those practices in ways that improve patient care and outcomes.”

Huffman, Manager of Support Services at the Simmons Cancer Center. “To have such an empathetic donor who opens his heart in this way – frankly it’s quite unique.”