MILWAUKEE - Marquette University's College of Nursing received a generous gift at a time of need. This, as the university answers the call to educate more health professionals during the pandemic.
Sophomore nursing student Elsa Sanchez is working to make a difference.
"There is not a lot of representation of minority students," Sanchez said. "It's a sense of comfort that people have when you are being taken care of by somebody who looks like you; somebody who can relate to you someone who you can confide to."
A generous gift is now helping to address the issue. Darren and Terry Jackson donated $31 million to enhance Marquette's College of Nursing.
"We are the first and last line of defense," Sanchez said. "So it’s an investment into our community -- especially expanding opportunities for underrepresented students because right now, Milwaukee desperately needs our industry workforce to reflect the population it serves."
Janet Krejci, Dean of the Marquette University College of Nursing, is elated.
"This is transformational. This is a game-changer for the College of Nursing," Krejci said.
With the goal of preparing 5,000 nurses for the workforce over the next decade, the gift will expand opportunities for students -- with a focus on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
"One of our big goals is to be able to provide funds for students for under-represented group, 1st generational, low income and that is difficult to do In terms of our funding," Krejci said. "With this gift, their dreams can come true and they can help us create the workforce that our community deserves and we can begin to mitigate health care disparities."
Part of the $31 million will also go toward forming a teaching academy to support students and counter faculty shortages -- as well as help create programs to make it easier for nurses to get advanced degrees to increase the workforce.