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Mary Gunther

Gunther in Dublin, Ireland, in 2005.

Associate Professor Mary Gunther is the executive associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Nursing. She oversees the college’s academic programs, curriculum development, catalog changes, and daily operations. At UT since 2001, she has taught both undergraduate and graduate students.

Why nursing

“It goes back to when there were very few jobs that women were encouraged to go into. It was either become a teacher or a nurse,” she said, explaining that her grandmother, who raised her, encouraged her to seek a profession.

As it turned out, she’s done both—nursing and teaching.

As a nurse, Gunther enjoyed working in pediatrics. She worked at UT Medical Center before earning her master’s degree in nursing administration at UT.

“I left the hospital to come teach and said I would never do management again. I evidently can’t keep my mouth shut, because here I am.”

Gunther said if you say there’s a better way to do something, you’re often put in charge.

“I’m always saying ‘There’s a better way to do this.’”

Advice to her college-age self

“Stay focused on completing your college degree. At the same time, stay open to and take advantage of opportunities to learn new things. Your future is not yet set in stone—so be receptive and adaptable to possible prospects.”

Outside interests

Gunther has always loved to read and jokes that it’s “mainly because people always left you alone when you’re reading.”

Her favorite genres are murder mystery novels, specifically British mysteries. “I started really young on Sherlock Holmes.”

While Gunther describes herself as a true introvert, she loves getting together with a group of friends to shop and eat lunch.

She also loves watching the Food Network’s competitive cooking show Chopped.


“Back when the Old City was booming I would go to jazz clubs.” Gunther enjoys listening to Van Morrison and Paul Simon along with jazz.

Dream dinner companion

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. “There would not be one word said, because I think he’s more introverted than I am.”

Gunther and colleagues in Botswana to present research findings. Left to right: Jo Wade, Gunther, Sandra Thomas, and Karen Reeseman.

Still on her bucket list

Although her work at UT has taken her to places like Africa, Ireland, and Amsterdam, she says, “I would love to visit Australia and New Zealand.”

If she didn’t do this

“I used to think I would have been a journalist. In high school I worked on the citywide school newspaper in Chicago,” she said, speculating on where that career choice may have taken her. “I would have seen more of the world and maybe progressed to writing novels.”