The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing in Galveston, Texas, held its inaugural Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon Nov. 1 to raise funds for the school’s new undergraduate honors program. More than 500 people attended the show and silent auction at the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Proceeds and donations totaled more than $192,000.
Honors students will receive a scholarship and funds to support additional learning experiences, such as seminars and exposure to various healthcare settings and populations, according to Pamela G. Watson, RN, ScD, professor and dean of the nursing school. UTMB wanted to provide its nursing students with more opportunities to understand their community and its public health needs and to be sophisticated about new healthcare initiatives, such as state models aimed at expanding managed care, she said. Honors students also will participate in one- or two-week field experiences in rural, underserved areas in the region.
“We will educate students at a level that bachelor’s students have not been educated at before,” she said. “It is in line with what is happening in the nation in terms of the demands brought upon us by the Affordable Care Act.”
Students in the program will be known as McGovern Scholars, Watson said. The John P. McGovern Foundation in Houston, a long-time supporter of UTMB, sponsored the fashion show and luncheon.
The event was “a New York fashion show on the island,” said Mary Ann Salch, chair of the Holiday Style Show Committee and member of the nursing school’s advisory council.
Tootsies, a high-end clothing shop with a flagship store in Houston, touted casual, cocktail and formal designs from its collection. The show also featured professional models, professional sound systems and a professional producer.
Watson said it was exciting to have a renowned store like Tootsies come to Galveston for a fashion show and to support the program. “I always had a dream about an honors program and everyone joined me in becoming excited about it,” she said.
Salch said she was impressed by how much support the nursing school received for its new initiative. Everything from silent auction pieces, flower arrangements, donation cards, gift bags, hairdressers, photography and even police security was donated by the community.
Nursing students helped with check-in and with assisting the 18 models in their “lightning-fast, minute-and-a-half” changes, Watson said.
Former Houston news anchor Fran Fawcett Peterson hosted the event.
“It was absolutely surrounded by magic from the very beginning,” Watson said.