“I so appreciate CBU opening the door to my faith! I learned about my faith, was given opportunity to practice my faith in a loving and accepting environment. The reason I went to CBU was that it was Catholic, and that foundation changed my life for the better.”

Jami Sammis Gattuso graduated from CBU in 1983 with a BS in Natural Science. As a student, she was very involved and has lots of very fond memories: “Being a cheerleader, making an A in embryology, Brother Dominic Dunn, being involved in many extracurricular activities, all of the Brothers, all of the professors, meeting wonderful people from all over the world, learning about other cultures, meeting my future husband!”

Jami took her science degree into the healthcare field, earning a BSN and MSN from University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. She began her nursing career as a staff nurse in adult oncology at St. Francis Hospital and moved on to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she has served as a staff nurse, preceptor, charge nurse, Nursing Discharge Coordinator, and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Today, she is a Nursing Research Specialist in the Division of Nursing Research at St. Jude.

Jami has been professionally recognized with the Advanced Practice Nurse Hero Award by the University of Tennessee and was elected President of the local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau national nursing honor society. She was also elected Director-at-large and then President of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses and has been awarded the Jean Fergusson Excellence in Pediatric Oncology Practice Award, the Dr. Patricia Greene Leadership Award, and the Dr. Casey Hooke Distinguished Service Award for lifetime contributions to the organization and the profession.

Jami provides vital services to the community on a daily basis through her career, but she is also active on her own time. As a member of the Church of the Holy Spirit parish, she serves as a lector, a member of the Angel Food Ministry, a member of the weekly sandwich-making ministry, and is currently trying her hand at the Holy Linens ministry. She has also served the parish as a small group leader, a member of the evangelization team, a greeter, and on the new member welcome team.

The husband Jami met as a student at CBU, Frank Gattuso (History ’84), has been the Executive Director of Ave Maria Home, a Catholic nursing facility that provides assisted living and long-term care to seniors, for 27 years, and Jami has volunteered in numerous capacities — such as Bingo, arranging entertainment, creating a fundraising cookbook, cooking and serving at gala events — to help the home and its residents over those years.

Jami and Frank make their home in East Memphis and have three daughters, two of whom are also CBU alumnae — Francesca Brant (’11, MAT ’13), Olivia Gattuso, and Amelia Gattuso (’15) — and a granddaughter.

I got the very best possible education at CBU! The value of an excellent education was a lesson that I learned and that has stayed with me. When I went to nursing school, I could not understand how others struggled with so much of the content. Much of what I learned in nursing school (anatomy/physiology-wise, for example) was not new to me at all. I got a beautiful deep foundation that paved the way for my further education.