A gift of $10 million from Bill and Joanne Conway, through their Bedford Falls Foundation, will enable the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) to provide scholarships to nearly 350 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees and aid in addressing the state’s nursing workforce needs. Maryland is one of four states in the nation anticipated to experience a shortage of 10,000 or more registered nurses by 2025.
This transformational gift, the largest in UMSON’s history, will be disbursed over a five- year period. The Conways have pledged more than $15 million to UMSON during the past three years. Their most recent gift is one of the largest outright scholarship gifts to any school of nursing in the country.
“What the Conways understand better than most is not only that Maryland needs nurses, but that Maryland needs nurses now,” said University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD. “Maryland is among just a handful of states facing the country’s worst shortages in nursing. The Conways’ extraordinarily generous gift will begin remediating these shortages. And ultimately, what that means is that the care we provide to Marylanders will improve: Patient outcomes will improve, complex care will be delivered with fewer errors, we’ll shorten in-patient hospital stays. And so, this gift is really an investment in the health and safety of all of Maryland’s citizens.”
The Conways’ latest gift will fund 341 scholarships, bringing the total number of students benefiting from Conway Scholarships to more than 470. Two previous gifts, in April 2015 and January 2017, to date have funded 106 scholarships for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral nursing students at UMSON’s locations in Baltimore and at the Universities at Shady Grove.
“Bill and Joanne Conway’s unwavering commitment to support nursing students is transformative for the University of Maryland School of Nursing,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Combined with two previous gifts, this exceptional third gift will mean that more than 470 undergraduate and graduate students will benefit from full scholarships to defray their educational expenses. The Conway Scholars, some of whom have already graduated, are forever grateful for the unprecedented level of financial support and are deeply committed to fulfilling Mr. Conway’s vision that the Scholars always demonstrate caring and competence in the nursing care that they provide to the individuals, families, and communities they serve.”
In addition, the latest gift funds Conway Scholarships for Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) students from the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus and from the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. These students will complete prerequisites for baccalaureate nursing education at their local community college, the costs for which will also be covered, and will then matriculate to UMSON as Conway Scholars upon successful completion of the prerequisites.
“We are incredibly honored and appreciative of the Conways’ demonstration of generosity, which will be invaluable in advancing the expertise and careers of dozens of nurses who are privileged to care for our patients at UMMC Midtown and UM Prince George’s Hospital Center," said Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, CENP, FAAN, chief nurse executive, University of Maryland Medical System; chief nursing officer, University of Maryland Medical Center; and UMSON associate professor. “This gift gives our nurses an incredible opportunity to pursue additional training and knowledge that directly benefits our patients while also furthering their nursing careers.”
The Conway Scholarship covers in-state tuition and fees. Post-baccalaureate recipients must also commit to serving as a clinical preceptor, teaching as a clinical instructor, or securing a full-time faculty position within three years of graduation. Additional information on the Conway Scholarship and its requirements may be found at www.nursing.umaryland.edu/conway.
The Conways decided several years ago that their philanthropy should help people who have demonstrated financial need to receive the education necessary to obtain jobs. Bill Conway is co-founder and co-executive chairman of the Carlyle Group, in Washington, D.C. The Conways are trustees of the couple’s Bedford Falls Foundation, which has bestowed significant nursing scholarships previously in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the United States and is in the top 10 nationally for all of its ranked master’s and DNP specialties. Enrolling nearly 1,900 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.
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