The Saint Joseph’s College commencement crowd enjoyed the traditional elements of a successful send-off for its more than 671 graduating students, from four countries and 37 states -a stream of caps and gowns, a bagpiper and families jostling for the right photo. What students, staff, and families didn’t expect, as they gathered on the Sebago Lake campus, was for alumna and Board of Trustee member Dr. Jeanne Donlevy Arnold of Lebanon, Pennsylvania to step up to the podium and announce a $2 million gift to the College’s Center for Nursing Innovation, the largest capital gift by any individual in the college’s one hundred and five year history, and a gift that will address current, critical shortages in the nursing workforce in Maine and across the country.
Dr. Arnold, who earned her BS in Professional Arts in 1983 from Saint Joseph’s pioneering distance learning (now online) education program, had taken center stage earlier in the ceremony to accept an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service. Dr. Arnold was unable to attend her own graduation in 1983 and had expressed excitement that she was returning to her alma mater to accept the doctorate with the Class of 2017.
|Dr. Jeanne Donlevy Arnold|
Arnold said, “Over 30 years ago, I received a bachelor of science degree in Professional Arts from Saint Joseph’s. It was a degree I pursued to help advance my career in nursing. At the time, I was a new Assistant Director of Nursing and I knew that having a BS degree would provide opportunities for advancement. Those opportunities turned out to be transformative and beyond all my expectations. I am proud of how Saint Joseph’s College set my life on a new course so many years ago.”
In January, when the Harold Alfond Foundation announced its lead challenge grant of $1.5 million to support Saint Joseph’s College’s ambitious plan for a Center for Nursing Innovation, Donlevy, the retired Senior Vice President of Good Samaritan Hospital, agreed to serve as campaign chair and lead the effort to raise $3.5 million in matching funds.
President James Dlugos, Ph.D. said, “Saint Joseph’s College is deeply grateful for Jeanne and Ed Arnold’s support of our mission and strategic plans. In recognizing this as a historic and transformative gift, the center will be named The Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Center for Nursing Innovation.”
The Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Center for Nursing Innovation will address the national healthcare industry’s need for educational programs for nurses, on-campus and online. The Center will offer:
· Five Simulation (SIM) Laboratories (hospital and home care settings);
· $1.0 million in scholarships for Maine nursing students;
· New advising offices for student and faculty meetings, a conference room, and a student collaborative learning space;
· Renovation, enhancement, and development of new Anatomy & Physiology, and Microbiology labs used by nursing majors.
With this gift to the College, Dr. Arnold adds a new chapter to her lauded reputation as a longtime supporter of many local, regional, and national organizations. She has previously received two honorary degrees/doctorates in humane letters, from Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and Lebanon Valley College. Among her many philanthropic projects, she and her husband, Edward H. Arnold, have provided significant support to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where they endowed the Hummingbird Program, pediatric palliative care program.