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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – During a Friday press conference to announce the release of North Texas nurse Nina Pham from the hospital, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, took time to send a special shout out.

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“As a tribute to her I’m wearing the colors of her nursing school, Texas Christian. So we should have a shout out for Texas Christian for training such an extraordinary individual,” he said.

Even the doctors at the National Institutes of Health know how much loves her college alma mater. Students on campus Friday were sending that love right back.

Current nursing students were not only thrilled with the national attention, but also happy that one of their own gets to come home to North Texas soon. They feel inspired by what Pham has overcome.

“We always wear these ribbons. All of us have them on,” nursing student Micaela Ikner said pointing to the ribbon on her nametag. “So we all feel like we have a strong bond with her.”

Ikner explained that Pham couldn’t just be a hospital patient in need of care. “Having Ebola and being able to be in front of the cameras and be strong and let everybody else [and] let strangers that you don’t even know into your personal story… I think she’s a hero.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Students also credit the training they receive at TCU for preparing them for exactly what Pham has faced. Pham graduated from Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2010.

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Suzy Lockwood, the Director of Undergraduate Nursing Program, remembers Pham well. “I had her as a senior nursing student. She was a very kind, special student. She clearly saw nursing as a passion.”

Pham’s passion for nursing and resiliency continues to motivate current students, including sophomore Joe Brown.

“I really am encouraged, because it just shows that you know, she’s committed. She’s not just going to stop just because you know when everyone else would probably stop when they get Ebola; she’s going to keep on going. That’s pretty amazing.”

As for those ribbons being worn on campus, one strand is the color purple for the TCU Horned Frogs and the other strand is the color apricot, which is the academic color for nursing. TCU students and staff say together the colors on the ribbons symbolize unified support for Pham.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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