A $5.24-million gift from William and Joanne Conway, through their Bedford Falls Foundation, will enable the University of Maryland School of Nursing to expand enrollment in its traditional BSN program and expand RN-to-BSN opportunities. The gift, the largest in school history, will provide full scholarship support for 157 new UMSON students, according to a news release.
Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of UMSON, announced the Conways’ gift during UMSON’s 125th Anniversary Gala April 18 in Baltimore.
“This unprecedented gift in our school’s history comes at a time when the case for a well-educated nurse workforce has never been more evident,” Kirschling said in the release. “We are truly appreciative of this extraordinary gift from Mr. and Mrs. Conway, which will help educate nurses at the baccalaureate level for Maryland and beyond.”
Of the 157 new students, 32 will matriculate at UMSON’s entry-level BSN program at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., starting with a cohort of eight students in the fall 2016. The gift also will support 125 students in the RN-to-BSN option, beginning with a cohort in spring 2016. The money will be disbursed over a five-year period.
In addition to full scholarships, Conway Scholars will receive coaching and mentoring services through UMSON’s Student Success Center in Baltimore, according to the release. Many of those seeking the RN-to-BSN option are expected to be associate degree graduates who are the first in their families to pursue a baccalaureate degree, according to the release.
“This incredibly generous gift will help meet the acute demand for nurses in the state and the region and will allow students to receive their education through one of the country’s very best nursing schools — a school that ranks sixth in the nation,” Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said in the release.
A 2010 Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing recommends 80% of the nurse workforce be educated at the baccalaureate level by 2020.
“Joanne and I are proud to support scholarships for nurses at the University of Maryland School of Nursing,” Bill Conway said in the release. “The school has an outstanding reputation for the development of compassionate, competent nurses. With this gift, we will have granted scholarships to more than 600 future nurses.”
Bill Conway is co-CEO and co-founder of the Carlyle Group, Washington, D.C. The Conways are trustees of the Bedford Falls Foundation, which has bestowed significant nursing scholarships previously in the Mid-Atlantic region.