ASU gets $50 million donation for nursing college and Biodesign Institute

The nursing college has been renamed to the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation following the donation

The University announced Monday that a $50 million donation to the Biodesign Institute and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation will rename the nursing college to the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Charlene and J. Orin Edson's donation will be evenly split between the Biodesign Institute and the nursing school and will provide many new opportunities for both, according to University officials.

Judith Karshmer, dean of the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, called the donation “very exciting."

“It’s going to provide us with the opportunity to launch a dual degree for PhD geriatric nurse practitioners, providing them scholarship support so they can actually prepare as geriatric nurse practitioners and do research in dementia care and family caregiving,” she said. 

Karshmer said this will put ASU on the map as the college for advancing clinical research in dementia care and family caregiving, as well as create new scholars. 

She also said some of the money will go toward hiring the college's new Edson Director of Academic Practice Partnerships in order to complete the “vision of increasing the number of master's prepared nurses by 200 over the next couple of years.”

The donation will also help with the creation of the Grace Center for Innovation in Nursing Education, which Karshmer said will allow for further research around the topics of simulation and simulation science and ensure for the latest and best practices to nurses and nurse scientists, making ASU a center for nursing education.

Sybil Francis, the founder and standing co-chair of the ASU Women and Philanthropy program and wife of ASU President Michael Crow, said that donations like this help give ASU its margin of excellence. 

“There's certain types of investments that help the University go above and beyond, which is really what this is allowing ASU to do as well,” she said.

Francis said she worked closely with the Edson family and that they care very much about nursing and dementia. She also said there are a number of factors that contribute to someone making a donation like this. 

“One is that they have great confidence in the ability of the institution to carry out work that is significant and can contribute, and then two, you need to have trust and faith in the leadership of the organization, and so I think those three things; they care about the issues, they believe the institution can deliver and they have faith and trust in the leadership,” she said.

Francis said a donation like this can be transformational for a program and for the field. 

“They’re advancing excellence in academia, but they’re also going to have a real concrete impact on the delivery of nursing care as well as an emphasis on care of dementia patients,” she said. 

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