Marquette University has received a $1 million gift from an alumni couple, Micky and Jennifer Minhas, that will launch an effort to renovate and build an addition for the new home for the College of Nursing in the heart of campus. As previously announced, to accommodate an ambitious growth plan, the College of Nursing will move to a renovated and expanded David A. Straz, Jr. Hall in 2024.
Micky Minhas, who graduated in 1989 from the Opus College of Engineering, is currently serving as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Jennifer (Burdick) Minhas also graduated in 1989 from the College of Nursing and serves on the Time to Rise nursing campaign committee.
The alumni couple applauded the nation’s nurses who have “worked tirelessly while putting their own heath at risk, in caring for others” throughout the pandemic. Their gift will bolster the College of Nursing’s growth strategy. “Marquette Nurses deliver care with integrity, passion and excellence in caring for the whole person,” Jennifer and Micky Minhas said. “We firmly believe that the College of Nursing’s strategic plan to expand enrollment, diversity and research opportunities will be foundational to the commitment to care for our communities. We are proud to support the college’s vision with this gift.”
University leaders have shared a vision and strategic plan to add an additional 200 undergraduate nurses to the College of Nursing over a four-year period once the facility opens in 2024. The College of Nursing’s growth, which also includes adding more than 400 additional graduate students in the past five years through an accelerated direct-entry MSN program, is filling a critical societal need in the city, region and nation.
“We are sincerely grateful to Micky and Jennifer for stepping forward to shape the future of Marquette Nursing at such a critical time,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “Marquette Nurses stand out among their peers, and there has never been a more pressing need for their passionate advocacy and skilled care for the most vulnerable among us. This gift will transform their learning environment in a deeply impactful way as we work toward expanding our program.”
Marquette’s College of Business Administration will move out of Straz Hall into the new home for Marquette Business and innovation leadership programs in December 2022. Significant renovations and a newly constructed addition to Straz Hall will then immediately follow, paving the way for the College of Nursing to move into its five-floor facility in 2024. The building, which will span more than 100,000 square feet when finished, is positioned across from one of Marquette’s most iconic faith spaces — the St. Joan of Arc Chapel — and beside the Church of The Gesu.
“It is vitally important that we increase the number of our Marquette Nurses graduating in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition, and this generous gift from Jennifer and Micky significantly furthers our efforts,” said acting Dean Jill Guttormson, Ph.D., MS, RN. “Marquette Nurse graduates are poised to make an immediate impact as leaders and advocates to improve health for the communities, families, and individuals they serve.”
Inside the new home for the College of Nursing
The first floor of the renovated facility will feature an open atrium, an auditorium and several flexible classrooms, along with a new Center for Nursing Student Success — providing wrap-around student support services that assist a new generation of nurses through first-year seminars, tutoring programs and learning communities. Skills labs are spread throughout the second floor, and a large student breakroom enclosed in glass will overlook the campus.
Expanded simulation labs will surround the third floor with accompanying debrief rooms to model reflection, clinical judgment, critical thinking skills and reasoning, Guttormson said.
The innovative spaces will offer enhanced opportunities to simulate real-time health scenarios taking place in the operating room, a specialty clinic or within home health care. The top floors will be home to a research collaboration lab, the dean’s suite, additional classrooms and faculty offices.
“Every decision we made in shaping this facility was based on supporting student learning in a rapidly changing environment,” said Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Lora Strigens. “Our nursing students and faculty live out our Jesuit model of cura personalis, caring for the whole person, and our goal was to envision and create a facility that does the same for them.”
As the university’s Campus Master Plan continues to evolve, Clark Hall, the current home for the College of Nursing, will be evaluated for future use.
University’s fundraising is transforming campus environment
With unprecedented support from alumni, parents and friends during the Time to Rise campaign, university leaders are transforming the campus community. The campaign has resulted in the first new residence hall in 50 years, the new home for Marquette Business and innovation leadership programs and the preservation of St. Joan of Arc Chapel. In addition, President Lovell recently announced a challenge to transform and integrate student wellness and recreation as well as a current initiative to revitalize the School of Dentistry clinics.
“We are immensely proud of our passionate supporters and thankful to Jennifer and Micky for their philanthropic leadership. We look forward to continuing our mission-driven work to drive Time to Rise forward for the Marquette community,” said Vice President for University Advancement Tim McMahon.
Time to Rise, the largest comprehensive campaign in university history, “is inspiring a culture of giving,” McMahon said. The campaign has stretched far beyond building projects, raising $237 million in scholarships to date. Marquette’s faculty scholars have also been the beneficiaries of recent gifts.
To date, the university has raised more than $576 million from more than 55,000 donors. More than 25,000 of these donors (46%) have made their first-ever gift to Marquette. In addition, 638 donors have given $100,000 commitments, and 116 donors have given $1 million or greater.
Building on previous nursing progress
The Minhas’ gift builds on recent momentum within the College of Nursing. In February 2021, President Lovell shared news of a transformational $31 million gift from an alumni couple to “grow, diversify and innovate” the college. A portion of this gift resulted in dramatically growing scholarships for underrepresented students to address racial injustices and health disparities.
In September 2021, the College of Nursing received a $1.5 million start-up grant to launch a telehealth-virtual accelerator. The award, which came in the midst of a surge in telehealth-virtual care services during the global pandemic, is empowering next-generation nurses to explore and enhance effective virtual care delivery. The College of Nursing boasts the highest four-year graduation rates within Marquette and 99.6% of 2020 BSN and Direct Entry MSN graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination.