$31M Donation To Marquette Nursing Program Aims To Graduate 5K Nurses By 2030

Gift From Alumni Darren And Terry Jackson Will Create 80 Scholarships For Underrepresented Students

Marquette University, Milwaukee
Gretchen Brown/WPR

Marquette University President Michael Lovell has announced a $31 million donation to the campus’ college of nursing. The gift is focused on growing diversity within the program with a goal of “preparing 5,000 nurses over the next decade and beyond.”

During his annual address to Marquette, Lovell called the donation by alumni Darren and Terry Jackson “transformational” for the college and the university’s goals of growing the nursing program.

“Darren and Terry’s generosity will result in 80 scholarships per year for Marquette nursing students from underrepresented backgrounds,” said Lovell. “This is a large step forward for our social justice efforts to reduce health care disparities.”

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In a recorded video message, Terry, who graduated from Marquette’s nursing program in 1987, said the donation was an answer to challenges over the last year brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent economic crisis and “cries for social justice.”

“What makes a Marquette nurse?” asked Terry in the video. “She’s different than just being a great clinician. She is someone who is a patient advocate. She’s someone who is a social justice champion. She is someone, when you are at your most vulnerable, she’s going to see you not as just a patient, but as another human being who is in need.”

Darren agreed, saying the donation is not about investing in a building, but investing in diversity and the future of the campus’ college of nursing.

In an email to alumni, Lovell said the $31 million donation will aid Marquette’s vision to prepare 5,000 nurses over the next decade.

“Of the 5,000 nurses, the college aspires to educate 1,000 diverse Marquette Nurses, grow Ph.D.-prepared faculty and is endeavoring to lead in emerging areas including telehealth education,” wrote Lovell. “Recognizing the rapidly changing healthcare environment, our plans will meet a major need to develop future nurse leaders.”

As part of Marquette’s 2022 budget proposal approved by trustees in December, the university announced 19 new positions would be created in “areas of growth” including health sciences and nursing.

The budget also announced the university planned to cut 225 employee positions by 2022, which it said would save the university more than $34 million in salary and fringe benefit costs.

But in a letter sent to the campus community Jan. 22 President Lovell said that a structural deficit caused by the pandemic and decreased enrollment last fall had been addressed through consolidations in administration, early retirement buyouts for employees along with 39 staff layoffs. In an email to WPR, a campus spokeswoman said no additional layoffs are planned at this time.

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