UMass Amherst Officially Dedicates the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, Celebrating Life of Distinguished Alumna and Educator
The University of Massachusetts Amherst celebrated the life and legacy of alumna Elaine Marieb this week with the official dedication of the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing and the first annual Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation Symposium.
Marieb, who died in 2018, had previously made gifts of more than $2 million for campus-wide scholarships prior to the 2021 gift of $21.5 million from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation, the largest cash gift in UMass Amherst history. The funds are advancing the university’s innovative nursing engineering center and also providing support for student scholarships, an endowed professorship, and mentorship and research initiatives designed to further access, equity and excellence in nursing education.
“Elaine Marieb lived her values. Through her teaching, textbooks and philanthropy, she sought to ensure the transformative power of education touched as many lives as possible,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said. “Today, with the naming of the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, her reach grows exponentially, as all students who pass through these doors will learn and practice under her name.”
Several state and local officials who spoke during the ceremony praised the university’s response, and that of its students and faculty in the College of Nursing in particular, during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic. They noted how the Marieb Foundation’s gift will help address the critical shortage of nurses and healthcare workers in the state and also empower nurses to have a leading voice in the development of healthcare products.
State Rep. John Lawn, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said the gift came at a critical time. “This is a time in the healthcare profession when we have over 5,000 open positions in nursing across the commonwealth and over 20,000 open positions in healthcare in hospitals, not including nursing facilities. We are really in crisis.”
“This gift is transformative,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, adding that it empowers nurses to not only be at the bedside, but also in leadership roles. “The foundation’s gift is really for the future and that next generation. UMass Amherst will usher in a new era of nursing education and interdisciplinary collaboration.”
“This is a sign of incredible trust in the college and its institutional leadership,” said Dean of the Marieb College of Nursing Allison Vorderstrasse. “This gift and the resources it will provide will have an incredible and longstanding impact on our research, teaching and growing areas of need, like public health promotion and campus wellbeing initiatives.”
Also taking part in the celebration were alumni Michael and Theresa Hluchyj, who gave a founding $1 million gift to create the Center of Nursing and Engineering Innovation; UMass President Marty Meehan; State Rep. Mindy Domb; UMass Amherst Provost Tricia Serio; Karen Guliano and Frank Sup, co-directors of the Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation; and representatives of the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation.
Nursing and Engineering Symposium
A daylong inaugural symposium brought together nursing and engineering experts from industry and academia to discuss the impact such collaborations will have on the healthcare industry and on patient care.
“Nurses and Engineers are both problem solvers at heart and have similar approach to solving them," said Center Co-director Frank Sup. "This makes them a great team.”
“Traditionally medicine can break down into silos and we can use interdisciplinary research to help break down those silos and find new solutions,” said Center Co-Director Karen Giuliano.
Marieb, a Northampton, Massachusetts, native, died in 2018 at age 82, and ranks among the nation’s most influential nursing educators. She earned a master of science degree from UMass Amherst’s College of Nursing in 1985 with a specialization in gerontology. Prior to that, she received a Ph.D. in zoology from the College of Natural Sciences at UMass in 1969. She also held degrees from Holyoke Community College, Fitchburg State College, Mount Holyoke College and Westfield State College. Her distinguished career included time teaching at Springfield College and Holyoke Community College.