Grayson College's nursing program founder Mary Moses,92, died last week

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
A Sherman Democrat clipping shows Mary Moses receiving the Boss of the Year award from Business and Professional Women's Club alongside Lee Alexander of Goodwill who received Torch Award for helping women advance in business.

Grayson College's Nursing Program lost its founder and biggest cheerleader on Thursday with the death of Dr. Mary Moses.

Moses, 92, began in her life-long profession of nursing at the age of 17 during WWII when she was accepted to training at Providence Hospital in Waco as a U.S. Army nursing cadet. After graduating from that program in 1947, Moses started her career at Wilson N. Jones where she worked in the surgery and labor and delivery departments.

In 1965, she left her position as a nurse instructor at WNJ to continue training nurses at the newly founded Grayson College.

"She was an icon," said Texoma Medical Center's Director of Education Dr. Candy VanSant. 

Local nurses could not travel to state-wide conferences or events without hearing Dr. Moses praises from nursing professionals, she said.

"She took great pride and set extremely high standards for herself and for others coming in and those graduating from the program (at Grayson College)," VanSant said.

That program Moses started continues to provide Grayson County hospitals with supply of meticulously trained nurses who have relationships with the local hospitals because they train at those hospitals while still pursuing their degrees. 

VanSant said Moses wanted everyone who studied in the program to do the best that they can do and when they had accomplished that, she challenged them to do even better.

"She was a mentor, she was a friend. She was a true advocate for nursing," VanSant said.

Mary Moses

Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said of Moses, "She impacted thousands of lives that are active in our communities, and did so with unwavering commitment to excellence. Texoma is better because of her. Our thoughts are with her family and many colleagues, and we join them in celebrating her life."

In 2019 when announcing the plan to name the school's current health sciences building after Moses, her former student and current, GC Associate Degree Nursing Professor Marty Richardson said Moses, "actually created the whole program."

Richardson said Moses had done all of the research on how to put together an associate degree nursing program, but at that time, she only had her bachelors degree.

Mary Moses

Never one to be easily deterred, Moses responded to the news from the state board of nursing that such a program would need someone with a master's degree to run it, by going out and finding a friend with such a degree to do so.

Moses and that friend, Dr. Mary Hardy, built the associates degree in nursing program together. 

VanSant heard Moses tell the story that then Grayson College President Cruce Stark thought the pair so integral to the college's programs that he wouldn't let them both fly on the same plane when they left the area to attend conferences. 

Moses eventually earned both her masters and her doctorate and became the first dean of health sciences at Grayson College.

As an instructor, Richardson thought Moses was great.

“Everybody loved her. Most of us were kind of scared of her,” Richardson said

Moses retired from Grayson as the dean of the Health Sciences Department in 1992, but she continued to serve on the school's board of trustees until 2012 and continued to champion the nursing program while on the board.

Mary Moses

“It was difficult program,” former student Rose Marr said. “I came right out of high school in 1972 and did my basics then went into the school of nursing. Dr. Moses was a tough instructor. She expected a lot of us, and the rewards were great. She always instilled upon you great things. It was a spring board for doing more education and doing more with our nursing degrees.”

In addition to founding the nursing programs at Grayson, Moses also was instrumental in starting the emergency medical services program at Grayson in 1973 and then grew to include paramedics in 1982. 

And, Moses didn't stop with improving nursing education in Grayson County. 

When Collin County was looking to start a nursing program at its community college, Moses guided those efforts even though the program would produce graduates who would compete with those from Grayson College for jobs. When asked if that was a concern, VanSant said Moses responded that there would always be enough students to go around.

Through continued leadership from the sidelines, the nursing program at Grayson continued to grow in recent years and now offers a bachelor's degree for registered nurses. 

Retired Grayson College board member and educator Mary Moses was honored at a ceremony Friday afternoon with the naming of a building in her honor.