Giving to Our School Gains Momentum
By Bobbie Berkowitz, Dean, Columbia University School of Nursing
Generosity of spirit is a part of a nurse’s job description. Nurses instinctively provide care unselfishly, care that extends not only to their patients, but also to their patients’ families, their community and to the world at large. So, perhaps, it should not come as a surprise that many of the alumni and friends of Columbia University School of Nursing also display a generosity of spirit by giving financial support to the school.
The momentum in our Annual Fund is just one measure. The Annual Fund helps provide scholarships to our students to defray the cost of their nursing education which may require them to borrow, on average, $84,000 to complete the first phase of the combined BS/MS Program. The Annual Fund plays an important role in underwriting this much needed financial aid, making a nursing education at Columbia possible for our gifted and talented students. I am pleased to report that the 2012-2013 Annual Fund has already surpassed the average of previous year-end numbers by 18% percent. Despite the challenges of these tough economic times, our alumni and circle of friends have recognized the need and have come through magnificently.
Another example of the generosity CUSON inspires was Columbia Giving Day, part of Columbia University’s first ever Web-based fund-raising initiative. With the theme of “Changing Lives that Change the World”, I participated in a panel together with Glenn Hubbard, Dean, Columbia Business School; M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education; and James Valentini, Dean, Columbia College, that was broadcast online live. I had the opportunity to underscore the amazing achievements of our faculty, staff, and alumni in improving the health and healthcare of people in our communities, in the nation, and around the world. Many of the funds received during that 24-hour period were gifts made in honor of Dr. Sarah Sheets Cook, our recently retired Vice Dean and Dorothy M. Rogers Professor of Clinical Nursing.
This year has also been distinguished by a number of gifts from funders supporting the school’s scholarship program. The school received a total of $160,000 for scholarships from the Louis and Rachel Rudin Foundation, and a $25,000 scholarship award from the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation. A generous friend of the school contributed $200,000 to an existing endowed scholarship fund that benefits Doctor of Nursing Practice students. The Lincoln Fund made an increased gift of $75,000 to support minority nurse scholarships. CUSON also received a grant of $500,000 in 2012 from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to fund financial aid for students enrolled in the accelerated second degree baccalaureate of our Combined BS/MS Program.
Our graduates are exemplary in their respective specialty areas. Whether they choose to work in clinical settings or in the boardroom, provide care in a community center or conduct research to gain new knowledge, once our graduates leave our school they are fully prepared to make a real and sustainable difference in health care. Thank you to everyone who has helped ensure the future success of our students through their contributions to our — your — school.