Wayland Baptist University dedicates Ben and Bertha Mieth School of Nursing

SAN ANTONIO – The grand opening and dedication of the new location of Wayland Baptist University’s Ben and Bertha Mieth School of Nursing “marks an important chapter in our institution’s 115-year history,” Dr. Bobby Hall, President, said today.

The ceremony took place at 10:30 a.m. at Wayland’s San Antonio campus, which is in Live Oak. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, reception and tours followed.

“Today, we extend our deepest gratitude to our great friends and benefactors, Ben and Bertha Mieth, for their generous gift of $2.5 million dollars to Wayland Baptist University,” Hall said. “Because of your benevolence, we have the unparalleled privilege today of unveiling a new name for one of our schools, now known as the Ben and Bertha Mieth School of Nursing. Your philanthropy ensures not only the legacy of the school, but it also ensures its future growth and affirms your faith in our mission to provide a superior nursing education to all who enter here.”

The university president said naming a school is no small matter.

“It is a significant gesture and a way of transferring not just your names, but your ideals, your values, and your hopes onto our institution,” Hall said. “This school will now forever be a symbol of your enduring generosity, compassion, and dedication to quality healthcare.”

He also noted their gift will “undoubtedly positively affect the lives of countless individuals for many, many years to come.”

Hall described Ben and Bertha Mieth as “two humble people who love God and have lived their lives seeking a daily understanding of what God wanted them to do, and then doing it to the very best of their ability. God has blessed them, and they have blessed others literally around the world.” He noted a photograph of the Mieths and a short description of their lives is now displayed at the nursing school.

Bertha Mieth greeted guests and offered the couple’s response.

“We have known both Dr. Wayland’s daughter and his granddaughter, and we have known Wayland Baptist University for many, many years, and have supported Wayland, and we will continue,” she said. “We will pray for Wayland as we do every day. Let’s keep the light burning on this campus and other Christian campuses that Wayland has. Let’s keep the light burning for Christ because that is what it is all about — telling people about Christ. Thank you again for coming and for this occasion that you have given to us.”

The gift allowed the school to move to the Live Oak location and prompted the university’s Board of Trustees to name the school in their honor. Dr. Rebekah Grigsby, Dean of the Ben and Bertha Mieth School of Nursing, expressed the gratitude of faculty, staff, and administrators.

“The Mieths’ gift provides us with the opportunity to grow and expand our programs to help meet the needs and demands of our society for competent BSN-prepared nurses,” Grigsby said. “As nurse educators, we look to evidence to develop plans for nursing programs. Evidence supports the expectation for BSN-prepared nurses to care for a complex, diverse population.”

Noting the LVN-BSN Bridge program and the pre-licensure BSN program already offered, Grigsby said, “We are ready to launch a third program leading to a BSN degree in January 2024 with the RN-BSN degree program scheduled to begin.”

“With the Mieths’ gift we have the capability of exploring options to expand our Master in Nursing program to include a focus on several opportunities such as Healthcare Administration, Organizational Leadership and Development, or Informatics,” she said. “All of these programs require a structure in which to reside, in addition to equipment, technology, faculty, staff, and clinical opportunities. The Mieths’ gift has contributed to this immensely. We have a beautiful skills lab and a high-fidelity simulation lab that provides our students with hands-on experience to prepare for clinicals.”

Noting the move to Live Oak as well as other changes, Grigsby said, “There is much newness here, new location, new dean, faculty and staff, new programs, and new name — but unchanged is our faith and our Christ-centered focus on nursing education. We are excited about the opportunities before us and the future of the Mieth School of Nursing. We have work to do, and my team and I are passionate about leading the way as we are committed to do the work.”

During the ceremony, a Congressional Certificate of Recognition from U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, who represents the 28th Congressional District of Texas, was presented. The certificate thanks the Ben and Bertha School of Nursing for “educating our future health care workers.”

In offering the invocation, Dr. David Bishop, Vice President of External Campuses for the Wayland System, said, “Ben and Bertha have always been leaders with servant hearts and this event confirms and continues that legacy as their gift supports nursing students for ages to come.”

Dr. Glenn Simmons, executive director and campus dean of Wayland’s San Antonio campus, welcomed guests, noting the growth of the campus “since a seed was planted here in San Antonio” more than 40 years ago. “That seed has blossomed into a vibrant university setting that is leaving a lasting legacy in the landscape of higher education.”

Dr. Cindy McClenagan, Vice President of Academic Affairs, provided a history of Wayland’s nursing program before introducing Patricia Hough, a Wayland nursing student who shared her story.

“The generic nursing program was approved by the Texas Board of Nursing in July of 2007 and admitted its first class one month later,” McClenagan said. “While the School originated as a department under what was then called the Division of Mathematics and Sciences in Plainview, it was always intended to be located in San Antonio.”

“The School has offered coursework in San Antonio, Port Arthur, New Braunfels, and now operates at Wayland’s new home here in Live Oak which we are excited to show you today,” she said.

Hough offered her thanks to the Mieths and all who are making it possible for her to study nursing.

Dr. Claude Lusk, Senior Vice President of Operations and Student Life, offered the dedicatory prayer before the ribbon was cut to officially open the new facility.