WMU News

$1.5 million gift to endow nursing chair

September 18, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A$1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor will establish a permanent endowed chair in Western Michigan University's School of Nursing, WMU President Elson S. Floyd announced at the Sept. 18 meeting of the University's Board of Trustees.

At the meeting, the board approved the creation of the Bernardine M. Lacey Nursing Chair in honor of the founding director of the nursing school, which is part of the College of Health and Human Services. The endowment will fund a full-time professorship in the School of Nursing.

"This is a hallmark in the history of this institution and a wonderful example of the confidence that people have in the University," Floyd said. "This very generous plan will allow us to build on the tremendous base the School of Nursing already has established and enhance its program by adding another preeminent health care educator to the faculty. The health sciences are of critical importance to the future of the University and this development can only strengthen our growth in that arena."

The new faculty position named in Lacey's honor will be the third endowed chair at WMU and the first one to be endowed by a living individual. The others are the Upjohn Chair in Business Administration, which was funded by the Upjohn Co., now Pharmacia & Upjohn, and the Frays-Jones Chair in Social Work Research, which was funded by the late Helen Stewart Frays and Clare and Clarice Platt Jones.

"The generosity of the donor is a significant and appropriate recognition of Dr. Lacey's contribution to the University and the Greater Kalamazoo community," said Janet I. Pisaneschi, dean of the College of Health and Human Services.

"As founding director, her creativity and commitment to making certain that this school will be a national leader in the realm of nursing education and responsive to current and future health care needs can't be equaled anywhere," Pisaneschi continued. "We're grateful to the donor for this tangible expression of respect for Dr. Lacey and for the support in assuring that WMU's school will indeed be among the leaders in the field."

"The School of Nursing was established in 1994 and two years later, awarded its first four-year bachelor of science degrees in nursing. This past May, just four years after its founding, the school was granted national accreditation by the only recognized accrediting agency for nursing in the United States. It is gaining wide recognition for its community-focused orientation, which allows students to obtain hospital training as well as experiences in a variety of other health care settings.

Lacey has served as the school's director since its inception. Before coming to WMU, she was an assistant professor in the College of Nursing and director of the Homeless Project at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She also has held adjunct appointments in the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and Johns Hopkins schools of nursing. Lacey has served as a consultant for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the International Council of Nurses. She also has served on the Clinton/Gore Transition Team on Health Care Delivery and was an adviser on health care reform for the Clinton administration.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing at Georgetown University in 1968, a master's degree from Howard University and a doctoral degree from Columbia University.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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