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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases


TWU announces 2007 distinguished alumni


DENTON —Texas Woman’s University and the TWU Former Students Association have announced TWU Provost Carolyn Gunning, Ph.D., of Denton, Norma Silva-Quinn of Austin and Colleen A. Smith, Ph.D., of Cisco as the 2007 distinguished alumni.

The three honorees will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon at 11 a.m., April 21 in the Southeast Ballroom of Hubbard Hall. Luncheon tickets are $25. For more information or tickets, call the TWU Office of Alumni Relations at (940) 898-2586 or visit www.twu.edu/alum.

Dr. Carolyn Gunning

Dr. Gunning’s distinguished career in nursing and higher education spans more than 40 years. She received her bachelor of science in nursing from TWU in 1965, and has since served as a nursing clinician, nursing educator, dean of the TWU College of Nursing and as the TWU provost.
She began her career as an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps serving during the Vietnam War. She then worked for several years as a head nurse of a critical care unit at the county hospital in San Antonio. Dr. Gunning also served in the Texas Army National Guard, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Dr. Gunning has exhibited a strong commitment to the values of higher education, achieving both a master’s degree in nursing and a doctoral degree in higher education. Her skill and leadership is evidenced in the various positions she has held at several universities, including TWU, culminating in her appointment as dean of the TWU College of Nursing in 1991. After a brief retirement, Dr. Gunning was named interim TWU provost in 2005 and later was appointed as the TWU provost and vice-president of academic affairs.

She has had a strong presence in national organizations serving both higher education and nursing, including the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association. Dr. Gunning was elected to three terms as the chairperson of the Texas Organization for Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education. Dr. Gunning’s service on a national task force for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing resulted in a document that is now used nationwide to structure nursing curriculum. Her expertise in nursing education is exemplified by her serving as a consultant for the Louisiana Board of Regents, Midwestern State University and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Dr. Gunning has received numerous awards recognizing her contributions, including receiving a commendation medal from the U.S. Army, being named one of TWU’s 100 Great Nursing Alumni and receiving the TWU Award for Meritorious Service.

“I am tremendously honored to have been selected as a distinguished alumna,” Dr. Gunning said. “TWU provided me the educational base to succeed in a leadership role in nursing and in higher education, and I am glad that I have been able to contribute back to the university. I have always been in awe of the accomplishments of those women selected as TWU Distinguished Alumni. I am humbled to have been selected to join their ranks.”

Norma Silva-Quinn

Norma Silva-Quinn earned her bachelor of arts degree in history and government from TWU in 1974 and has continued to give back to her alma mater since graduation. She has served in numerous positions on the Former Students Association Board, serves as a class agent and has encouraged many of her students to attend TWU. In 1998, she had the honor of seeing one of those former students named an outstanding senior at TWU.

Ms. Silva-Quinn has spent her professional life with the Austin Independent School District, serving as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Currently, she is principal of Palm Elementary School, which in 2006 was one of four national recipients of the “Lend a Hand” program. In recognition, the school and its choir were featured live on the NBC Today Show.

She has been active in a variety of professional associations throughout her career. During her term on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the first national teaching certificate was created. Ms. Silva-Quinn was the first Hispanic to serve as president of the Austin Association of Teachers. She also was one of the first teachers in Austin to be involved in the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program and served on the organizing committee when the program expanded statewide.

Ms. Silva-Quinn has been named an Austin Teacher of the Year and received the University of Texas Excellence Award for Outstanding High School Teachers — one of 10 awarded annually in the state.

Her activities extend beyond those associated with her profession and include serving as a volunteer in her church, in Leadership Austin, Brackenridge Hospital’s Safe Kids Campaign and the National Literacy Day Hotline. She has been a lifetime member of the TWU Former Students Association for more than 20 years.

“I am truly honored to receive this award from my university,” Ms. Silva-Quinn said. “TWU’s tradition of high standards for excellence prepared me well for my career as an educator and also gave me opportunities to develop leadership.”

Dr. Colleen A. Smith

Dr. Colleen Smith’s association with TWU began as a Federation Master’s Student and continued as she earned her Ph.D. in dance from TWU in 1997. She has worked in higher education for more than 25 years, with a reputation as a national authority on the assessment of student learning, institutional effectiveness and accreditation.

In 2006, she was selected to be the first woman president of Cisco Junior College. Prior to this appointment, she was the vice president of instruction for the college.

Dr. Smith spent more than 20 years at Western Wyoming College, where she developed the college’s dance curriculum. The program received regional and national recognition for its choreography, and students were invited to perform for national and regional festivals. During her tenure at Western Wyoming, Dr. Smith advanced from instructor to associate professor to division chair to associate dean for assessment and occupational programs.

During her time in Wyoming, Dr. Smith was appointed by the governor to serve on the Wyoming Commission for National and Community Service. She also has worked on the Planning and Zoning Commission of Rock Springs, Wyo., on the Workforce Investment Council and as a volunteer for the United Way.
Dr. Smith has served as a consultant-evaluator for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. She was named a TWU Kitty Magee Distinguished Scholar in 2000 and a Wyoming Outstanding Dance Educator in 1989 and 1992.

“I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me to be recognized by TWU as a distinguished alumni and to know that people I respect have demonstrated their support for me,” Dr. Smith said. “I am deeply thankful for my time as a doctoral student in the dance program and for the continued collegiality the faculty members have shown me over the years.”


For Further Information Contact:

Amanda McKeen Simpson
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu


Page last updated January 22, 2009

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