An additional $20 million commitment to Catholic University from Bill and Joanne Conway will speed the construction of a new nursing and sciences building on the University's campus in Brookland. The couple's latest gift brings to $40 million the Conways' total contribution to this project.
“Given everything that is going on in our world — especially with the COVID-19 pandemic — we will need as many well-trained, compassionate health care professionals as we can get to to address the increasingly complex health challenges,” Bill Conway says. “We are so pleased to be making this investment in our country's healthcare readiness.”
In addition to their $40 million support for a new building, the Conways have invested $20 million since 2013 to fund scholarships at the nursing school. Their support has enabled nearly 70 students to pursue their nursing degrees. The Conways are the University's largest benefactors to date. Last spring, in recognition of their generosity and continued support, the School of Nursing was named the Conway School in their honor.
The new facility will house the Conway School of Nursing, providing enough space to double the current size of the student body and faculty. Best practices for nursing instruction and the ever-changing field of nursing were considered in designing the infrastructure for the building.
The majority of the structure will include dedicated, multi-functional learning spaces including classrooms and other areas reserved for clinical education and instructional support. New simulation labs will allow students to experience high-stakes acute care and objective structured clinical examinations. The building will also house laboratories and classrooms for anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, as well as a large auditorium that will be available to faculty and students in other academic disciplines.
Student study areas, faculty and staff offices, as well as common meeting spaces round out plans for the building, which, consistent with the University’s commitment to responsible stewardship of built and natural environments, will target eventual Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
Mr. Conway, a member of the University's Board of Trustees and co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, said he and his wife remain focused on a goal to educate 20,000 nurses to answer a range of health care needs and the persistent shortage of nurses in the United States.
"The quality of the nursing students at Catholic University is outstanding. We have been so pleased to support and get to know dozens of them, and are thrilled with the impact the graduates are having in health settings here in Washington and all over the country," says Conway. "We thought it was important to do whatever we can to help train more great Catholic University nurses. We are gratified that this new building will enable the University to achieve this goal."
Scott Rembold, vice president for University Advancement, says the Conways’ “two gifts, totaling $40 million, will provide half the funding for this approximately $80 million building. Their further commitment, along with additional donors we will bring to the project, ensures that this excellent school will have the modern facilities it and our outstanding nursing candidates deserve.”
University President John Garvey expressed the appreciation of the entire Catholic University community for the Conways' record-setting philanthropy. In June, he commented that their generosity will “enable us to double the size of our school to more than 700 students.
“Of course," added Garvey, "in order to effectively serve these students we must increase the size of our faculty and provide increased support for the exceptional professors we have today. Led by Dean McMullen, they have built a great school. We are already developing plans to address these other important needs. I am confident that the Conway School will become the gold standard for nursing education in this country.”
Dean Patricia McMullen also lauded her school's great champions. "Bill and Joanne have changed the lives of dozens of our students who could not have attended our school without their support," McMullen says. "Our graduates are doing so much good in the world. We have always dreamed of a day when we could educate more nurses in top-notch facilities and increase the School’s impact. Thanks to Bill and Joanne, that dream is coming true.”
The Conways received honorary degrees from the University in 2017 in recognition of their generosity that "enables students who lack the financial resources to receive an education that directly affects the lives of patients in the region."