Health Care Couple Create Scholarship to Battle Nursing Faculty Shortage

The Doctors Carolyn R. and Gary L. Mueller
The Doctors Carolyn R. and Gary L. Mueller at the 2019 School of Nursing 50th Anniversary Visionary Leaders Luncheon.

Carolyn Regena Mueller, PhD, MSN Class of 1985, RN, and her husband, Gary Louis Mueller, MD, FACP, FACE, dedicated their lives to caring for patients – both civilians and military service members – and sharing their knowledge by teaching nursing and medical students around the country.

Carolyn retired in 2016 as an assistant professor of clinical nursing at The University of Texas at Austin. She taught child/family nursing and served as co-chair of the Division of Family, Public Health and Nursing Systems. Carolyn previously taught nursing in Washington, New Mexico and Tennessee. She cared for children in neonatal ICUs, general pediatric units and summer camps.

Carolyn earned her BSN from the University of Tennessee and then practiced in newborn ICUs. She completed her MSN at the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio and began her teaching career. After earning her PhD at UT Austin, Carolyn continued teaching nursing while moving because of her husband’s military career.

Gary retired as a colonel from the U.S. Air Force Medical Service after 28 years of service. During his military career, he practiced as an endocrinologist at Air Force bases across the U.S. Gary held academic appointments at medical schools at Vanderbilt University, the University of Louisville and UT Health San Antonio. He has published numerous articles related to endocrinology. The couple are longtime supporters of the University of Missouri, where Gary earned his undergraduate and medical degrees.

After retiring from long and fulfilling careers, the couple looked for a way to prolong Carolyn’s contributions to nursing in particular and to society in general. “We were looking for a way to continue our efforts in improving health care. We approached the School of Nursing at UT Health with the shortage of nursing faculty in mind. Gary and I decided a scholarship supporting PhD students was the best way to combat the shortage of faculty.”

The couple’s philanthropic interest resulted in the creation of the Carolyn Regena Mueller, PhD, RN and Gary Louis Mueller, MD, FACP, FACE Nursing Scholarship for students enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a research focus on the physical, mental and/or social health of children from birth through adolescence.

“This PhD allows you to practice at the highest level of nursing,” Carolyn said. “The need for prepared nursing faculty is dire. By helping students financially who are earning their PhD, we can help provide the next generation of nursing faculty.”

Carolyn encourages her fellow alumni to either give a little to their undergraduate and graduate universities or select one university to make a bigger contribution. “All schools need the support of alumni. If you are looking to leave a legacy, you may want to look at the school where your interest is also a priority for that school. “Give to support an area or a type of student that is important to you,” she said.

Carolyn said working with Melissa Mireles, director of development for the School of Nursing, to establish the scholarship was an easy and accommodating experience. “I highly recommend contacting Melissa if you want to discuss a way to give back.”

For more information, please contact Melissa Mireles at 210-567-5534 or

Written by: Catherine Duncan

Article Categories: Donor Spotlight