January 27, 2006 — The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation of Fairfax, Va., announced yesterday that it has awarded the University of Virginia School of Nursing a grant of $5 million for a planned school expansion that will include a new nursing education building. The grant represents the largest single gift ever received by the School of Nursing.
“Nurses play a vital role in meeting the health care challenges of our time,” said University President John T. Casteen III. “With a facility that prepares nurses for the growing complexity of their profession, the University will make a significant impact on the care delivered here and around the globe. I am deeply grateful to the trustees of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation for their vision, generosity and continuing commitment to nursing and medicine at the University.”
This marks the second time in two years that the foundation has made a major grant to the U.Va. Health System. In December 2003, the foundation announced a gift of $12.5 million toward the School of Medicine’s new medical education building. Combined with this earlier commitment, the grant cements the foundation’s philanthropic impact on the education of future generations of nurses and physicians at U.Va. The new buildings will be constructed across 15th Street from one another, within sight of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, providing clear visual evidence of the foundation’s leadership in advancing health care education at U.Va.
The proposed four-story, 32,000-square-foot Claude Moore Nursing Education Building will provide large, flexibly designed classrooms equipped with cutting-edge instructional technologies, a Student Life Center offering much-needed space devoted to student life and organizations, computer kiosks placed strategically throughout the building (instead of a single computer lab), conference rooms, and offices for administrators, faculty, staff and graduate students. The new facility will be completely adapted to the latest innovations in wireless telecommunications, and an open staircase will connect all floors, reinforcing the values of health promotion central to the nursing profession.
When the new building is completed and part of the nursing school program has relocated there, the reconfiguration and renovation of McLeod Hall will begin. Jeanette Lancaster, the school’s dean since 1989, noted: “We have envisioned this expansion for a decade. Each year we turn away qualified applicants due to a lack of space, at a time when the shortage of nurses is increasingly severe. The foundation’s gift toward the new building will truly transform the School of Nursing, not only providing more and improved space, but also enabling the school to expand its research mission, upgrade its clinical simulation labs and graduate more new nurses.”
Three foundation trustees are University alumni: Jesse Wilson (Col ’56, Law ’63), Peter Arntson (Col ’60, Law ’65), and Leigh Middleditch (Col ’51, Law ’57). Wilson, who served with Middleditch on the U.Va. Board of Visitors, said: “Dr. Moore believed education to be the engine that drives social change and progress, and he directed his philanthropy to that important end. We are confident this cutting-edge education facility will strengthen the School of Nursing, not only enabling it to improve methods of instruction, but also allowing the school to grow during a time when the shortage of nurses has become a public health problem for the commonwealth and the nation.”
The building’s classrooms will be particularly state-of-the-art. Two large tiered classrooms will be located on the ground floor, and one will accommodate an entire incoming undergraduate class, including expected growth of enrollment. Each of these classrooms will be equipped with multiple screens for polycom technology (videotaping), enabling instructors to connect to remote locations for video-conferencing (distance learning) in real time, as well as show recorded or delayed feeds. From a control podium, the instructor also will be able to interact one-on-one with students electronically while they work at their seats. Two medium-sized classrooms on the first floor will be similarly equipped. Together these four classrooms represent a dramatic improvement over current facilities.
When asked to comment on the principal benefits this new teaching facility will bring to the school, acting Associate Dean for Academic Programs and the school’s chief academic technology officer, Sarah Farrell, remarked: “The use of the most advanced technologies in our teaching will dramatically strengthen the ability of our graduates to practice as leaders in any health care environment. More importantly it will give them the tools to innovate and create better systems of patient care in the future — and that in turn will lead to the improved health of our citizens.”
The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation was established in 1987 to enhance educational opportunities for young people in the commonwealth of Virginia and elsewhere. It continues a tradition of philanthropy established by the late Dr. Moore, a longtime radiologist in Washington, D.C., and a 1916 graduate of the U. Va. School of Medicine. When he died in 1991 at the age of 98, Moore was the University’s oldest medical alumnus.
The University of Virginia School of Nursing is among the nation’s top nursing schools with three of its graduate programs currently ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Top 10. The school also is ranked 16th in National Institutes of Health nursing research funding and conducts a vigorous research program that includes studies in rural health care and disparities, mental health, oncology, gerontology, complementary therapies, domestic violence and nursing history. In addition, the school is a leader in implementing new programs and strategies to address both the national nursing shortage and the concurrent need for more highly educated nurses to deliver increasingly complex health care. For more information about the U.Va. School of Nursing and its programs, visit www.nursing.virginia.edu or call 434-924-0141 or 1-888-283-8703 or V/TDD 434-982 HEAR.