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Catawba gets $1 million grant to offer nursing degree

SALISBURY — Catawba College will launch a nursing program that will take a student from registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing thanks to a $1 million gift from the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation. The grant to Catawba was approved in early May at the foundation’s annual meeting.
Although the program has been in development for some time, the college will begin its recruitment of faculty and administration for the program this fall, thanks in large measure to the foundation’s gift.
The $1 million gift will be distributed to Catawba by the Robertson Foundation over four years, with $300,000 paid during each of the first two years, and $200,000 paid during each of the final two years.
Catawba President Brien Lewis expressed appreciation to the foundation for its support of the program. He also thanked Dari Caldwell and her colleagues at Novant Health’s Rowan Medical Center, Kaye Green and Garett Schreier at W.G. Hefner Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salisbury, and nursing leadership at UNC-Pembroke for their assistance in mapping out a plan for Catawba’s program start-up.
David E. Setzer, executive director of the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation Inc., noted that the Robertson board had expressed pleasure at seeing the college take this action, indicating that it felt this was a needed academic program expansion to nursing education in the area and one which would add dimension to the professional job picture in our county.
More than half of the RNs in North Carolina do not hold bachelor’s degrees in nursing. However, changing standards in the Affordable Care Act and recommendations from the Institute of Medicine have increased demand for bachelor’s trained nurses.

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