CON establishes inaugural Ruth and Austin W. Roberts Nursing Scholarship

November 10, 2008

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing has established the inaugural Ruth and Austin W. Roberts Nursing Scholarship for $25,000. It will be used to fund a scholarship for a nursing student, with first preference to a student who has completed or is currently enrolled in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University.

Williams of Tulsa, an integrated natural gas company where Mr. Roberts was employed, is providing a matching grant.

Col. Austin W. Roberts (ret.) was born Sept. 13, 1916, in Hockley, Texas, as the youngest of three children. He grew up in Houston and graduated from Reagan High School, where he met his future wife of 62 years, Ruth Dietz.

Col. Roberts attended Texas A&M University from 1936-41 and earned a degree in agricultural economics. He joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, serving in both World War II and the Korean War, remaining active in the Army Reserve until his retirement in 1971. He also earned an M.B.A. at the University of Houston and graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College. He was an accredited tax advisor, an ordained deacon, an active Mason and member of the Scottish Rite and Shrine.

Ruth and Austin Roberts were avid supporters of Texas A&M. They donated more than 20 scholarships, provided flagpoles and named the university as one of the five charities to remember in their estate.

His interest in nursing scholarships came from his daughter, Dr. Diane Benson. She is a registered nurse (R.N.) of more than 40 years, graduating from Texas Woman’s University for her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Memphis State, and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of LaVerne. She is currently chair of the Department of Nursing at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

Col. Roberts passed away Oct. 25, 2008, in Bryan and was buried in Houston. He and his wife most recently lived in Brenham. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, two sisters and his parents. He is survived by his daughter, Diane Benson and her husband, Leigh, of McKinleyville, Calif.; and nieces, Judy Cottrell of Houston and Teresa Mills of LaPorte.

For more information about scholarship and other giving opportunities for the Texas A&M Health Science Center, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (979) 458-7221 or online at

— Marketing & Communications