Baylor Nursing Begins New Chapter in Storied History with New Academic Building

August 29, 2018

Louise Herrington School of Nursing to celebrate ‘historic day’ with dedication on Aug. 30

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Aug. 29, 2018) – As more students answer a higher call to the nursing profession, Baylor University’s historic Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) in Dallas found itself needing significantly more space for nursing students to strengthen their preparation for successful careers and for faculty to teach and conduct life-changing research in the health and nursing fields.

That need has been answered this fall, as students, faculty and staff were welcomed back to a newly renovated Louise Herrington School of Nursing Academic Building, adjacent to the LHSON’s longtime campus, Baylor University Medical Center and more than 150 professional nursing practice sites in Dallas-area communities.

The Louise Herrington School of Nursing Academic Building will be dedicated during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at the new facility at 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas. President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., will join LHSON students, faculty and staff, Dean Shelley Conroy, Louise (Ms. Lou) Herrington Ornelas, LHSON donors, Dean’s Board members, BECK Architecture, J.T. Vaughn Construction LLC and others to celebrate and dedicate the new space.

(Video of the new Louise Herrington School of Nursing Academic Building by Morty Ortega, Baylor Photography)

“This will truly be a historic day in the life of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing,” Conroy said. “We believe that nurses have been called to make a difference. This special calling to learn, lead and serve others through the integration of faith and academic excellence results in qualities unique to a Baylor Nursing graduate, qualities that are instantly recognized and appreciated by patients, employers and the community. We are grateful to our generous donors, University leadership and the Baylor Family, who believe in the unique mission of LHSON to prepare caring nurse leaders to go out and serve locally and globally.”

Illuminating space

Formerly the headquarters of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the four-story LHSON building dramatically addressed the nursing school’s need for more classrooms and student service space, more than doubling its previous space by adding 100,000 square feet for high-tech nursing education. Features of the renovated campus include a central atrium for students to congregate and collaborate, active learning classrooms that foster more dynamic group interaction and allow for innovative teaching, an auditorium, chapel for quiet spiritual reflection and a Learning Resource Center. The previous campus now focuses exclusively on clinical practice and simulation laboratories for nursing students and faculty.

Since its beginning in 1909, the LHSON has grown from its place at Texas Baptist Sanatorium (precursor to Baylor University Medical Center) in Dallas to the thriving program that serves Baylor Scott & White Health and other health care organizations in communities across the state and nation. As one of the University’s 12 academic units, the LHSON represents what the University hopes its graduates will become – sources of light within their communities, serving those in need and glorifying God through their calling as nurses, President Livingstone said.

“As we move forward on Illuminate, our academic strategic plan, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing illustrates many of the University’s strategic priorities – ensuring a transformational undergraduate experience and growing meaningful opportunities for graduate education; affirming our faith foundation and demonstrating to our students how their professions and their faith animate one another; and exemplifying how faculty research can blend seamlessly with excellence in teaching, benefiting our students through rich experiences through their years of school and informing their practice,” she said.

Generosity propels project forward

The LHSON Academic Building is the result of a successful $28 million fundraising project for new space to house the majority of the School’s academic functions. A lead gift from Mrs. Ornelas and another leading contribution from Drayton and Elizabeth McLane helped propel the project forward and make the building a reality.

“I gave the gift because I love the nursing school students,” Mrs. Ornelas said when the building was purchased in 2016. The new home of the LHSON is named in her honor.

“Our family has been very committed to Baylor University because of its Christian commitment to higher education and also to health care, and this is why we were interested in helping with a gift that will begin the building renovation for Baylor’s outstanding Louise Herrington School of Nursing,” Drayton McLane Jr., B.B.A. ’58, Baylor Regent Emeritus, said when the McLanes’ gift was announced in 2017.

The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) was established 109 years ago as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first baccalaureate degrees were enrolled in 1950 and graduated in 1952, establishing the Baylor nursing school among the oldest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Mrs. Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made a significant endowment gift to the school.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the LHSON offers several academic programs, including bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.) degrees through a traditional program, during which students spend their first two years on Baylor’s Waco campus and final two years in Dallas, and FastBacc®, a one-year accelerated program. LHSON also offers doctor of nursing practice (DNP) online programs that include family nurse practitioner (FNP), nurse-midwifery (NM) and neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), as well as an online master of science in nursing (MSN) leadership and innovation program.

Reminder of “mission and calling”

With an enrollment of more than 900 students and a top 50 national ranking by U.S. News & World Report, the LHSON has earned a reputation for providing an excellent education that incorporates the latest innovations and consistently producing graduates who are ready to make an impact in their profession. About 90 percent of Baylor nursing students receive a job offer by the time of graduation.

Conroy said the LHSON is blessed to carry on the legacy of faith and good works the BGCT provided over the years in “this beautiful facility.”

“We are humbled and blessed by the Christian symbolism reflected in this facility, such as the glass support system at each end of the atrium that forms a cross, the stone floor in the atrium that symbolizes the solid foundation of our faith and the open skylight access to our Heavenly Father,” Conroy said. “Each time we look at them, we will be reminded of our mission and calling. We want to be counted worthy to carry on the good work that the Lord has begun through the BGCT in this building.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.