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Dean Emerita Dolores Sands has Died: Former UT Austin School of Nursing Leader Made Lasting Impact

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AUSTIN, Texas — Dolores Sands, a long-time leader in nursing science and education and former dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, died Monday, Oct. 22, at the home of her son in The Woodlands, Texas.

Dolores Sands PortraitDolores was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and became dedicated to education at a young age. She received both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from Arizona State University.

In Detroit, she met and married Art, her husband of 55 years, and raised three children in the suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. The family moved to Arizona, where Dolores entered the world of higher education and began her remarkable career in nursing research as a professor at Arizona State University. There she served as director of the Graduate Program in Nursing Administration, acting dean, assistant dean for research and resources, and assistant dean for the baccalaureate program.

She was recruited to UT Austin to lead nursing research, where she conducted major research initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health and was honored with numerous awards recognizing her significant contributions to advancing nursing education and practice. From 1984 to 1989 she served as professor and director of the Center for Health Care Research and Evaluation, which later became the Cain Center for Nursing Research in recognition of a $5 million gift for nursing research from Mary and Gordon Cain. In 1989 she was named dean of the School of Nursing. During her 20 years as dean, she garnered over $16 million in permanent endowments for the school, including the Cain endowment that also endowed a $1 million Chair in her name.

Over the years she oversaw the education and training of thousands of nurses and contributed to the knowledge of many thousands more through her prolific research publication legacy. She was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Upon her retirement in 2009 she was named dean emeritus in honor of her distinguished career.

“The impact of Dean Sand’s leadership is immeasurable and ranges from her efforts to build the research productivity of the school, strengthening the PhD program and leading the implementation of our first nurse practitioner programs,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the UT Austin School of Nursing. “She was dedicated to students, faculty, staff and most of all the profession of nursing. We are grateful for her many contributions to the School that will continue to live on — including her influence on many of us.”

Dolores was preceded in death by her husband, Art, and is survived by her children, daughters Linda Hannen (Mark), Carol Wilson (Mike), son Arthur (Beth) and nine grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home in Phoenix, Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Dolores and Arthur C. Sands Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Nursing, the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, Office of Development, 1710 Red River, Austin, Texas 78712.