Donor, Retired Health Care Professional Gets Dream Realized with Honorary STC Degree


Photo Caption: STC donor and retired nurse practitioner Mary Killoran was presented with an honorary bachelor’s degree in nursing this morning during the 9:30 a.m. STC commencement ceremony at Bert Ogden Arena.

Mary Killoran’s dream came true when South Texas College presented her with an honorary bachelor’s degree in nursing during Saturday morning’s commencement ceremony at the Bert Ogden Arena.

Killoran recently donated $50,000, set to be an annual contribution, to STC’s Foundation to provide scholarships for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a degree she said she wished she had received.

The STC Foundation was established earlier this year to raise funds to support student educational endeavors by means of grants and scholarships.

“This was a huge surprise. No one gave me a clue. I could never have imagined this,” said Killoran. “I am very, very honored.”

The retired nurse practitioner, in spite of not having a bachelor’s degree, in 1974, got accepted into a nurse practitioner program because of her decades-long experience as a registered nurse.

“It’s a tremendous honor to now be able to help a new generation of nurses make their dreams come true,” she said. “Any help we can give is an impact to humanity and makes this country a better place.”

STC Vice President of Advancement and Economic Development Rodney Rodriguez, Ph.D., called this a monumental moment.

“Ms. Killoran has been an advocate of our nursing program, community and region, so when we started working with her, the stars aligned,” said Rodriguez. “And for all the years she spent helping others and now our students, she deserved this surprise.”

Beginning this fall, Killoran’s donation will create $3,500 scholarships for deserving students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing to cover tuition costs and other school-related expenses.

STC Dean for Nursing and Allied Health Jayson Valerio, DNP, RN said Killoran is an inspiration to his students.

“This scholarship will help alleviate the financial burden that many of our students face,” he said. “There is no doubt that Ms. Killoran will inspire our students to continue their education and pursue excellence. It’s been an honor being able to say thank you to Ms. Killoran by making her dream come true.”

President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D., added that Killoran’s contributions create hope and allows STC’s nursing program to remain a leader in the state.

STC’s Nursing program is currently ranked No. 1 among Texas community colleges and No. 2 among Texas universities as a top producer of graduate nurses entering the health care field.

“We are so appreciative of Ms. Killoran believing in our students, in our program and in helping them realize their dream and career goals,” said Solis. “Her contributions will impact our students and their families for years to come. She’s inspiring a whole new generation of health care professionals that will positively impact our region, state and nation.”

For more information on giving to the college or creating a scholarship in a loved one’s name, contact the STC Division of Institutional Advancement and Economic Development at or 956-872-2048.


Founded in 1993, South Texas College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers more than 127 degree & certificate options, including associate degrees in a variety of liberal art, social science, business, math, science, technology, advanced manufacturing and allied health fields of study. Additionally, South Texas College is the only community college in the state of Texas to offer five baccalaureate degrees. South Texas College has a faculty and staff of more than 2,700 to serve 28,000 students, on the college’s six campuses, two higher education centers, and one virtual campus.

Amanda Sotelo