UW-Madison: Major gifts give momentum to School of Nursing building campaign

CONTACT: Katharyn May, 608-263-5155, kamay@wisc.edu; Philip Davis, 608-263-8425

MADISON – Two major gifts announced today (Oct. 2) provide a major boost to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing and its Power of Nursing Campaign to build and staff a new nursing science center.

Connie Curran (’69 BS NURS) has made a $300,000 gift, and the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation has made a $1 million gift to the campaign, which will build and equip a new nursing science center located in the heart of UW-Madison’s vibrant health science campus and recruit and support the faculty necessary for the school’s growth. The gifts were announced in conjunction with the Power of Nursing Summit, taking place through Oct. 3 at locations around campus.

The weekend launches the public phase of the $20 million Power of Nursing campaign. With these gifts, the campaign now has raised $12.3 million of the $20 million goal for private support to help fund construction and strategic growth. “These gifts from our great friends at this point in the campaign are extremely important,” says Katharyn May, dean of the School of Nursing. “I think they will create excitement for our supporters and friends here and around the state. I have great confidence that these generous gifts will create momentum as we enter the public phase of our capital campaign.

“Connie Curran has been, and continues to be, a leader whose influence stretches well beyond nursing,” May adds. “I also know, firsthand, that she is a proud Wisconsin alumna. I am thrilled that she has chosen to invest in our school’s future. Her generous gift will help us strengthen how we prepare our students for professional leadership, and it will create a wonderful space in our new building for interaction among undergraduate and graduate students and alumni leaders in nursing and health care.”

The dean also saluted the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation’s philanthropy. “The Oscar Rennebohm Foundation has been a significant friend to the university, and we’re so very grateful that it has included the School of Nursing in the worthy projects it has supported on campus,” May says. “The Rennebohm Foundation has made support of health-care initiatives a top priority, and this gift to our School once again shows the vision and foresight of the foundation and its leaders.”

Curran, who lives in Chicago, is one of the most prolific scholars in the health-care field and the editor of Nursing Economic$. She has hundreds of publications and several research programs to her credit, and she has led national studies on nursing staff recruitment, retention and labor market participation. She has written books on hospital-physician integration, hospital redesign and home care. Curran provides leadership on several corporate as well as nonprofit boards. She is a serial entrepreneur who has developed and sold two companies. She recently founded “Best on Board,” a national organization focused on education and certifying health-care trustees.

“I think the School of Nursing is an enormous resource, not only to the students and staff, but also to the patients at UW Hospital and Clinics and all the people of Wisconsin,” Curran says. “My mother was a patient there, and the quality of care was absolutely first class.

“I am an expert on quality in health care, and we have it here,” Curran adds. “I am so proud to support the school in its most valuable mission, and I am happy the school is there for Wisconsin and the world.”

Mary Gulbrandsen (’74 MS NURS, ’98 MS MED), a trustee of the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, says, “The Oscar Rennebohm Foundation is excited to join other donors and the state in the construction of a new building for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. The importance and prominence of nursing continues to expand in every aspect of health care. A building where the UW-Madison’s exceptional faculty and program can become even more responsive to the technological and scientific changes occurring today is essential to the strength and health of the entire health sciences community at the University.”

Oscar Rennebohm established the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation in 1949 to support education, research, health care and recreation in the Madison metropolitan area. The gift announced today is consistent with the mission of the Rennebohm Foundation – to support the work of UW-Madison. During the past 60 years, the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation has provided grants for people and programs in many of the schools and colleges at the university.

A new 93,000-square-foot nursing science center will serve as a cornerstone for transforming nursing practice to address 21st-century challenges and opportunities. The new nursing science center will:

– enable the school to prepare nurses for the growing complexity of health care with large, flexible classrooms equipped with cutting-edge instructional tools;

– provide a setting that takes full advantage of evolving technology for both teaching and care management with dynamic laboratories that simulate nursing environments and can adapt to changing technologies;

– create places where students, faculty and the community can come together to collaborate, learn and share in a 250-seat auditorium and interactive space for conferences and meetings and distance technology rooms for off-site education and research programs;

– allow the school to educate more nurses, nurse faculty and nurse researchers; and

– make room to expand faculty and research capability, accommodating 10 additional tenure-track professors and flexible work space for an additional 30 to 40 doctoral students.

A new nursing science center will give nursing its first dedicated home since the Nurses Dormitory was built in 1924. Adjacent to pharmacy’s Rennebohm Hall, the Health Sciences Learning Center and the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, the building positions nursing as an integral and visible part of UW-Madison’s health-care education and research.

The School of Nursing aims to transform lives, communities, Wisconsin and the world through the power of nursing. As health care becomes more complex, as aging baby boomers choose to stay in their homes, as the demand for nurses increases, a new building will allow the School of Nursing to educate nurses to better meet these needs.

For more on the school and its campaign, visit http://www.powerofnursing.wisc.edu.