Alice O’Bryan received an honorary Lubbock Christian University Bachelor of Science and Nursing degree in October for her lifetime of dedication to nursing. The degree and pinning were presented in Albuquerque, NM. Thirteen family members, thirteen LCU graduate nursing students, and four LCU nursing faculty attended the ceremony to support the ninety-year-old nursing veteran, along with Dr. Jesse Long, Dean, College of Biblical Studies and Behavioral Sciences and Dr. Toby Rogers, Dean, College of Professional Studies.
“Mrs. O’Bryan’s life, her thirst for knowledge, and perseverance in nursing are exemplary,” comments Professor of Nursing, Dr. JoAnn Long. “She continues to make a difference in the lives of LCU nursing students with her wit, wisdom, and instruction to stay true to what matters most.”
LCU awards honorary degrees to recognize distinguished service in a particular field. Alice O’Bryan’s love for nursing and the individuals she served in her many years in practice represent the very ideals exemplified by the nursing programs at Lubbock Christian University—the commitment to serving others and a sense of one’s own vocational calling.
O’Bryan wanted to be a nurse since the age of nine. In high school she took science courses, and even Latin, in pursuit of this dream, but when it came to actually attending nursing school, her parents couldn’t afford the tuition. When she was seventeen, O’Bryan left her home in Dallas for more nursing opportunities in San Antonio. There, a women’s business organization loaned her money to become a registered nurse. She entered a program at Surgical Memorial Hospital, now Baptist Hospital, in San Antonio.
In the midst of WWII, she graduated from nursing school and married a young airman, Randall O’Bryan, but she still dreamed of someday having a college degree. O’Bryan worked both night and day shifts at the hospital in order to work around her nursing classes. However, her husband’s job required moves from Albuquerque, to California, to Ohio, and with each move she had to put a hold on her college education. By the time they made a final move back to Albuquerque and she enrolled once again in the university, new nursing restrictions made obtaining a degree very difficult. She realized it was impractical and finally gave up her dream of a college degree to focus on raising her teenage son.
Despite circumstances keeping her from receiving a nursing degree, O’Bryan believes everything is on God’s timetable. She says, “God has taught me so much along the way about grace, His goodness, and His mercy. I really wanted to be a nurse, and I wouldn’t give up. I became a nurse, and now the Lord, in His timing, is allowing me to get my degree at 90 years old.”
O’Bryan says God put LCU on her heart from the first time she was on campus. In return, the LCU nursing department finds O'Bryan worthy of an honorary degree for her story of perseverance.