Professor teaching nursing students

Bill and Joanne Conway — the largest donors in Catholic University history due to their tremendous support of nursing scholarships and substantial funding of the nursing and sciences building currently under construction — are again supporting the Conway School of Nursing (CSON) through a $10 million gift that will enable the school to add faculty positions.

It has long been a goal of CSON leadership to increase the size of both the student population and the faculty by 2031.

“When I came in as the new dean, I met with the faculty, University leadership, and other critical stakeholders and evaluated our goals for expansion. I saw the need for more faculty to achieve these goals,” said Dean Marie Nolan, Ph.D. 1989. “I spoke with both (former) President Garvey and Mr. Conway, who, together with his wife, Joanne, were nice enough to say ‘we can help with this.’ Their very generous donation to fund the initiative of new faculty is really transformational for us.”

In seeking to reduce the national nursing shortage by supporting the education of new nurses, the Conways understand more faculty is needed, too. This gift will fund salary support, stipends for research and administration, and start-up costs.

“There are so many young men and women who want to dedicate their lives to serving others through the vocation of nursing. For Catholic University to educate more nurses, they need talented faculty to do so,” Bill Conway said. “My wife and I have been blessed with the resources to be able to further help the University achieve its goal of increasing both enrollment and faculty in the nursing school. We are excited to see the nursing school continue to grow.”

Currently, there are 21 full-time faculty members in CSON. Needed positions include clinical faculty to teach at the baccalaureate and graduate levels, as well as research faculty to teach and advance the science of nursing. With the funding, Nolan has already secured an associate dean for administration to support the advancement of academic programs.

The Conway gift will enable Nolan to hire a psychiatric nurse practitioner, too. She explained that many people of all ages are experiencing mental health problems, some exacerbated by the pandemic. “We want our students to be well prepared in mental health and psychiatric nursing,” she said. “I think I have a very good candidate.”

CSON has about 325 undergraduates currently enrolled, and it’s growing very quickly, according to Nolan. Between 2020 and 2024, the B.S.N. class size is expected to double. “The Conway gift came at just the right time and enables us to grow both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” Nolan said, adding, “We will never be able to thank Bill and Joanne Conway enough for their generous gifts and the impact that they have had on our students, faculty, and school, on the University and, really, on the nursing profession.

“Bill and Joanne Conway have given so much to us, obviously. The fact that we have this magnificent new building” — set to open in 2024 — “is the physical demonstration of their confidence in the next generation of nurses being produced at the Conway School of Nursing.”

— A.K.