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Faculty giving

Becky Baird

Lianne Tonry was the kind of nurse that was easy to talk to and hard to forget.

When Tonry, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, died in 2016, Becky Baird wanted to honor her colleague. Tonry, who joined the faculty in 2013 after a career that included serving as a hospital's director of clinical education, died just four months after Baird's uncle, James Orr, passed. Both Tonry and Orr were veterans.

Using the money her uncle left her, Baird, an assistant clinical professor, established the Tonry/Orr Veterans Endowed Scholarship in Nursing. The $25,000 permanent endowment benefits military veterans pursuing a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

The pre-licensure program is designed for students who are not registered nurses and do not have associate degrees in nursing from community colleges. Like the rest of the university, the College reaches veterans in an environment that welcomes and embraces the needs of current and former servicemen and women. Because of its longstanding commitment to the education of veterans, Military Times ranked UTA the top Texas university for veterans in 2017.

Baird is not alone in her generosity. A large portion of the money raised from donors last year was given by faculty and staff.