March is Women’s History Month

  Monday, March 25, 2024
  Awards, Accolades

By Karen Villarreal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – MARCH 25, 2024 – Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez has worn many hats over the course of her life: an American civil rights leader, a professional nurse, a lifelong learner, a professor, and an officer of the United States Army's Nursing Corps. In 2024, she added another accolade to her list of achievements: “Leader and Legend of Texas Nursing.” 

The Texas Nurses Association recently selected Tamez, professor and associate dean for Student Success & Engagement at UTRGV School of Nursing, as one of five TNA members recognized as a “Leader and Legend of Texas Nursing” – an honor awarded every two years to a nurse whose contribution to health had local, statewide and national transformational effects.

During a seminar on Feb. 5 at the UTRGV Clinical Education Building in Harlingen, Serena Bumpus, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, shared Tamez’s history with aspiring nursing students.

“Dr. Tamez has accomplished a lot on behalf of this community – and is a big reason why many of you may be here with us today in this program,” Bumpus said. “We're very fortunate here in Texas to have influential individuals like Dr. Tamez that we get to learn from, that we have access to and that we can emulate in the future and carry their legacies forward.” 

Upon receiving her award, Tamez, who was president of the TNA’s District 26 for two terms and District 14 for two terms, spoke to the students about critical actions taken by the TNA to safeguard the nursing profession – such as stabilizing license costs and maintaining educational standards. 

“It is important for you, as a professional nurse, to belong to an organization,” said Tamez, who is also co-founder of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the International Latino Nurse Faculty. “They protect us and our practice.”

Tamez and the 2024 nursing legends will be celebrated at a Leaders and Legends gala event on May 31 in San Antonio, Texas.


From her first Diploma of Nursing to her Ph.D. in Health Education, from staff nurse to supervisory positions, and from U.S. Army commissioned officer to her retirement as colonel, Tamez said she has learned to manage the challenges that accompany the progression to leadership roles.

Whether in the military, public service, or academia, Tamez said she is not afraid to admit when she does not know something – and is willing to listen to those who do. 

“Often the solution to managing challenges is best accomplished with a team who is engaged in problem solving for the good of the institution,” she said. 

After returning to the Rio Grande Valley to be a professor, she went on as associate dean for Student Affairs at UTRGV in 2018 to contribute to new graduate level programs, including the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) nursing administration

“It is as if I'm fulfilling a legacy that my parents implanted in me,” said Tamez, who is also president of UTRGV’s Women’s Faculty Network through the 2024 academic year. “To be a role model to youth pursuing higher education was a dream.”

Tamez expressed pride in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner postmasters certificate, which began in 2015 and took great effort and five grants to launch, she said.

“The last grant, from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, made it happen,” she said. “We're the only psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program in the Rio Grande Valley, and now there are 35 certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners serving our community.”  

To learn more about UTRGV’s School of Nursing, visit

Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez, professor and associate dean for Student Success & Engagement at UTRGV School of Nursing, spoke to nursing students during a Texas Nurses Association seminar on Feb. 5 at the UTRGV Clinical Education Building in Harlingen. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.