2021 Norma Rubin Donation

New nursing scholarship honors longtime healthcare educator

Galveston College students will now have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of becoming nursing professionals thanks to a new scholarship established in memory of longtime Galveston healthcare educator Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Rubin.

Dr. Norma Rubin and her children, Ross and his wife Michelle, Corey, and Jana and her husband Jesse, created the Dr. Sanford A. Rubin Memorial Scholarship in Nursing in honor of Dr. Sandy Rubin, who died shortly before his 80th birthday on April 17 of this year.

Sandy, who diagnosed himself as a juvenile diabetic at the age of 11, had a long and distinguished career in healthcare. He attended Waco High School, graduated from Baylor University and received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He held positions in the departments of radiology at the schools of medicine at both the University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas. He returned to UTMB in 1979 as chief of Thoracic Radiology. During his tenure, he also served as the director of the Radiology Residency Program and as the director of Medical Student Education.

Sandy was a well-known volunteer in public schools, sharing his expertise and knowledge regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking and his passions for nature and specifically, herpetology. He won numerous awards throughout his career, including the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award at UTMB and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Thoracic Radiology. He remained at UTMB until his retirement in 2005.

Norma taught medical students for more than 30 years in the department of neuroscience, cell biology and anatomy at UTMB. She said her husband never let his diabetes slow him down, but COVID-19 forced a delay in vascular studies that were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020.

“When he was hospitalized, we looked at the care we received and realized it was the nurses who kept him alive,” Norma said. “We had a newfound appreciation for nurses and those involved in direct patient care.”

Norma said she and Sandy, who were married 56 years, both chaired the admissions committee at UTMB at different times and were responsible for screening applicants for medical school.

“I was always so amazed at how hard some students had to work to be able to attend school,” she said. “I’m just so thankful and grateful that I am in a position to be able to help.”

“The Galveston College Foundation is delighted to work with the Rubin Family to establish this scholarship that will provide support for future students pursuing an associate degree or certificate in nursing at Galveston College,” said Kelly Merry, director of development and the Galveston College Foundation. It will also be available to students in the college’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which is scheduled to begin in fall 2022.

“The Galveston College Foundation is honored to accept this fitting tribute to Dr. Rubin to benefit nursing students at the college,” Foundation Chair Keith McFatridge said. “These types of opportunities for students are particularly important in Galveston and the Texas Gulf Coast region. We deeply appreciate the generosity of the Rubin Family.”

Carol Hodges, secretary of the Foundation Board and retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, said, “As a member of the Galveston College Foundation Board, it is always a pleasure to receive an endowed gift to benefit the students. As a retired Registered Nurse Practitioner, the Sanford A. Rubin MD Memorial Scholarship in Nursing is especially gratifying as I know a scholarship that helps individuals attain the education to become an RN is a benefit to that individual and to the community in which we live.”

“The Dr. Sanford A. Rubin Memorial Scholarship in Nursing will have a positive impact on the lives of students for years to come, and it will benefit the entire community by helping to prepare the next generation of nurses,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president. “This gift is consistent with the care, compassion and generosity the Rubin family has exhibited in the Galveston community for many years.”

Above: Dr. Norma Rubin (center) presents a gift to Kelly Merry, director of development and the Galveston College Foundation, and Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president, to endow a nursing scholarship in memory of her husband, Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Rubin,” a longtime healthcare educator in Galveston.