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50th Reunion Gift from the Class of 1959 Provides $90,000 for Nursing Doctoral Scholarships

June 3, 2009
University Relations
50th Reunion Gift from the Class of 1959 Provides $90,000 for Nursing Doctoral Scholarships

Members of the Class of 1959 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently announced their 50th reunion class gift of a $90,000 fund for scholarships for the doctoral program in nursing.

The endowed scholarship fund to be created will benefit doctoral candidates at the School of Nursing, says Jean E. Swinney, interim dean. “We think this is a very big deal for the school and our doctoral program,” Swinney says.

Nurses with graduate preparation are recognized as key to creating solutions for some of the major challenges facing healthcare today, Swinney says. Preparation of faculty is fundamental to addressing the workforce shortage issues. Faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for nurses continues to grow. The major contributing factor is an insufficient supply of nursing faculty. Currently, only 47 percent of nursing professors are prepared with doctoral degrees, and one of the biggest factors in this limited number of highly trained nurses is lack of financial aid.

In May 2006, the UMass Board of Trustees approved the doctorate in nursing practice, making UMass Amherst the first school in the state to offer the advanced degree. The program, a four-year post-baccalaureate degree, focuses on preparing advanced practice nurses for functioning at the highest level of nursing practice. This was the first year that UMass Amherst awarded doctoral degrees in nursing. Seven candidates earned the degree.

School of Nursing Website