In a ballroom packed to the brim Friday, September 9, 2022, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith announced the largest single gift in its 94-year history – a transformational $18.7 million from the Windgate Foundation that will radically empower the university’s 广受好评的护理和视觉艺术项目.
这份礼物解决了阿肯色河谷的关键需求，开辟了一条道路 to dramatically increase nursing graduates and cultivating an immersive arts experience for students and the public through the expansion of the Windgate Art and Design building and its offerings.
“The Windgate Foundation cares so deeply about Fort Smith,” said Blake Rickman, Executive UAFS基金会主任兼大学发展副校长. “This is their hometown, and they understand the unique relationship this institution has with our city. We aren’t just a university in Fort Smith; we are Fort Smith’s university, 我们非常感谢他们的支持.”
“This foundation has walked hand-in-hand with us for so many years,” said UAFS Chancellor 泰丽莎·莱利，我为他们对我们的信任感到骄傲. It’s an honor, and I am so impressed by how they have used their philanthropy to ensure that we are empowered 以适应社会不断转变的需要.”
“在某些方面，我认为他们的梦想甚至比我们更大，”莱利说. “And to 梦想伟大的梦想，共同改善我们的欧博官网是如此特别.”
在此之前，Windgate基金会授予UAFS超过2500万美元 以支持Windgate艺术与设计建筑和捐赠，视觉艺术和 design programming, and a comprehensive scholarship endowment for high-need students.
Over the past three years, Rickman said, the university and the Windgate Foundation pivoted from discussing a single gift to improve fine art facilities at UAFS to designing 全面推进黄河健康发展的多层次规划 Valley unveiled today.
“This gift empowers the university to tend to the human needs of every member of our UAFS艺术与设计主管Katie Waugh说. “Cultivating overall 健康对于培养一个正常运转的社会和艺术环境至关重要.”
Fostering Public Health through Nursing
为该地区的公共卫生需求服务，超过9美元.9 million of the Windgate Foundation’s gift will be dedicated to the immediate and sustained expansion of the UAFS Nursing program.
“This gift has created a new beginning for Nursing at UAFS by affording us the opportunity 为了应对我们一生中面临的最大挑战之一——获得医疗保健， by educating and training the registered nurses our community and our region so desperately need,” said Dr. Paula Julian, UAFS执行董事Carolyn McKelvey Moore School of Nursing.
“We have a distinctive nursing program that has been known across the state as offering 真正卓越的教育，”莱利说. “The brightest, most dedicated nursing students in the region choose UAFS because they know they’re going to get the best education right here in Fort Smith.
“But like other universities, we share a difficulty in recruiting and retaining the exceptional faculty members who teach in this program, especially amid a global pandemic. 在全国范围内，护理专业的教师都被高薪从学术界吸引走了 hospitals and a call to do the important work of caring for patients during this time 危机，所以财政手段招募和保留献身的教育工作者 培训合格的下一代护士是扩张的关键吗.”
近400万美元的初始投资将允许该大学雇用27人 additional faculty immediately while expanding and equipping simulation labs to maximize existing infrastructure. 这所学校预计每年将额外招收200名学生 in the university’s Bachelor of Science of Nursing (BSN) programs, which include traditional and accelerated options.
“有了这份礼物，UAFS将不仅保持在医疗保健的前沿 our remarkable equipment and facilities but will lead the industry as we recruit some 医疗保健和临床教学领域最聪明的人才. By 2024, I envision UAFS as 在招聘新的护理教师时，竞争不亚于任何可以想象的机构 – and that means that our students, who already pay the lowest tuition in the state for a four-year degree, will also have access to the best possible education and educators.”
莱利说:“我们预计各级护士的数量将增加一倍 continued. “这是给整个地区的礼物，而不仅仅是给阿肯色大学的礼物 - Fort Smith. 它远远超出了这个校园的界限 this area.”
The second phase of investment will allow the university to add two new proposed degrees -护理副学士学位(ADN)和rna - bsn通路. These flexible degree 计划将适应不同人口的不同需求. Though neither program will be brand new to UAFS, they have seen a resurgence of interest following the pandemic, 这些专业的毕业生深受地区医院的欢迎.
在这两个阶段，总共将聘用40名新教员 一旦完成，预计每年将新增近300名护士毕业 than doubling the size of the nursing program and near-fully meeting the vacancy rate of regional hospitals.
“With this gift, the Windgate Foundation is investing in a prominent need across the United States,” Riley continued. “他们正在赋予这个机构权力 这个地区吸引和留住最优秀和最聪明的教师 帮助我们延续我们的遗产作为最高质量的护理教育. And I think 这意味着他们重视我们已经做出的贡献，并且相信我们会继续 that legacy.”
“我非常感谢Windgate基金会，”朱利安说. “This generosity will be felt for generations as the talented nurses we educate at UAFS heal the patients 用最深沉的知识和关怀来呵护河谷.”
为了进一步支持视觉艺术，超过8美元.8 million will allow the institution to expand the Windgate Art and Design building, enabling a more immersive public experience 空间和整体美术工作室的学生和教师.
“This gift will meaningfully augment every aspect of our department: the ways we educate students in each of our degree programs, the scope of our exhibitions and art collections, and the services and programming we can offer to the River Valley region and to broader art communities,” said Waugh. “这不仅将决定我们如何解决当前的问题 需要，但也将在很大程度上决定我们前进的轨迹.”
“I feel exceptionally grateful, respectfully humble, and ready to get to work,” she said. “这是一个难得的特殊机会，可以致力于这样一个项目 transformational, that will have this much impact on each individual student’s education in art and design. 我非常感谢温德盖特基金会为我们 他们大大改善了我们学生的生活. I’m also exceedingly grateful to the many dedicated colleagues at UAFS that have allowed us to develop this vision. A gift of this size, given to support both art and healthcare, can set a course for the future.”
Beginning in 2023, UAFS Art and Design will begin a physical expansion of the Windgate 建设，以及通过这两门新课程扩展课程内容 and broadened existing courses, including book arts, 3D-design, art history, graphic 设计，画廊和收藏，博物馆准备人员培训，雕塑，陶瓷， and digital fabrication.
图书艺术中心将进一步向公众开放. The center will advance the study and practice of book arts in a way that will be as unique as it is remarkable and will bolster what is already one of the most well-equipped Book Arts studios in the region. 额外的车间空间，可进入的入口和公共区域 该建筑将进一步加强与学生、教师和校友的公共合作.
“We aim to develop workshops and educational opportunities, fostering new passions in the field while also serving as an important resource to those who are well-established,” Waugh said. “我们正在延续过去增长和卓越的强大遗产 leaders have established over the years; the efforts of Don Lee and Katie Harper chiefly among them.”
“I believe everybody should have this level of faith in the university,” Riley said, smiling. “他们有信心投入每一分钱，因为他们知道我们在做 right things with their money. 因为他们知道在uaf，我们一起梦想 how to make this entire region better. 因为我们毕业的每个学生都更优秀 感谢你来到这里，感谢每一个有机会雇佣这样一个人的地方 graduates or recruiting them to contribute to their incredible research is in a better place because of what they learned here. That’s why I do what I do,
“The highest moment for anyone serving in higher education is watching your students 走过毕业典礼的舞台，”莱利继续说道. “The second highest moment is knowing that we had any part of it. 当我们把这些神奇的，博爱的 people in our community with students who have such incredible potential and, sometimes, 如此难以置信的需求，如此特殊.”