UMHB Meets Terms of Challenge Grants

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor officials announced today that the university has successfully met the terms of two challenge grants, securing the $20 million needed for construction of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center.  With the awarding of the two multi-million-dollar grants, the new facility will be debt free when it opens its doors for classes in January.

Challenge grants issued by two different donors last fall provided the impetus needed to raise the funds for the project in one year’s time.  In October, The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, offered UMHB a $2 million grant if the university could raise the remaining balance needed for the project from alumni, foundations, and other friends of the university.  A second donor, who asked to remain anonymous, stepped forward soon thereafter, offering a leadership-level gift of an undisclosed amount if the school could secure all funds for the project by the end of 2012 and complete the facility without exceeding its original budget of $20 million.

First among the numerous gifts which enabled the university to fund the project was a lead gift of $5 million from Mrs. Jane Meyer of the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation in Waco. UMHB faculty and staff members were also enthusiastic in their support, with pledges and gifts totaling $607,060 for the nursing center and other new facilities called for in the Campus Master Plan.

“When we accepted the challenges issued by the Mabee Foundation and our anonymous benefactor, we were not certain we could meet their terms in such a short time frame,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, UMHB president.  “But as we began telling people about our wonderful nursing program and how the shortage of well-trained nurses affects all of us, our alumni and friends stepped forward in unprecedented numbers to help us fund this new center.  Through their generosity, we have been able to create a state-of-the-art training facility with the laboratories and classrooms needed for our nursing program to continue to flourish and grow.”

“When we first began this project, we never dreamed that we could complete construction of it debt free in such a short span of time,” said Dr. Sharon Souter, dean of the Scott and White College of Nursing. “We are thrilled that so many alumni and friends have shown their commitment to our program through gifts for this wonderful nursing education center.  We believe that, by stressing Christian values as well as the highest professional standards, we are producing the finest nurses to be found anywhere.  And this strong show of support tells me that many others recognize the effectiveness of this approach and want to be a part of it.”

The three-story Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center offers 76,100 square feet in clinical laboratories, practice exam rooms, classrooms, faculty offices, and support spaces for the UMHB nursing program. The center includes a hospital simulation area with the latest in high-tech care devices so students can prepare to utilize cutting-edge technology in a variety of situations, such as an emergency room, a critical care unit, and labor and delivery.  The facility will be ready for the start of classes in January, and a dedication ceremony will officially open the center to the public on February 8, 2013.

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