When M. Christine Schwartz, RN, BSN, MS, graduated from the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1970, the escalators in the colleges building on Chicagos west side still were considered state-of-the-art and they still worked.
But Schwartz will be among the first to note that her graduation day came a long time ago.
When I was a student there, the building had just opened, Schwartz said.
But that escalator hasnt worked for many years.
And a boarded-up escalator certainly did not match the great vision that we share for the education of the next generation of nurses.
Earlier this year, Schwartz, who serves on the colleges External Advisory Board, decided to do something about it. She tapped the T&C Schwartz Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization she runs with her husband, businessman Theodore Schwartz, to donate more than $2.2 million to the UIC College of Nursing to make the facilities match what she and others at UIC believe to be the world-class level of nursing education offered at the college.
Theodore Schwartz is the founder and former president and CEO of APAC Customer Services, a company specializing in customer care outsourcing.
He now runs a private investment firm. The T&C Schwartz Family Foundation has made a number of donations to a variety of causes, including healthcare education, medical research and projects in Chicago.
Terri Weaver, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the UIC College of Nursing, said the donation was matched to a plan to improve the facility that she and two other administrators at the college had drafted.
The foremost item on the list of objectives to be achieved was the removal of the dilapidated escalator, a task that was accomplished this summer.
When the escalator came out, it was amazing to see the silo of space about 2,500 square feet over four floors that we can now recover, Weaver said.
But that was just the first phase of a large project to be carried out over the next year or so.
When the project is completed in late 2014, it will include new common areas for students to work and study; high fidelity clinical simulation rooms; research seminar rooms; spaces for events and storage; and other new spaces, which Weaver and Schwartz said were badly needed.
Right now, our facilities just dont allow us to always create the type of experiences that our students should have every day, Weaver said.
But when the renovations are completed, Weaver said, the colleges facilities will live up to the accolades it receives from many.
Schwartz said the gift matches her desire to promote nursing education at UIC and elsewhere.
I am big on transforming facilities for colleges, Schwartz said. This was the right project, at the right time for us to do it.