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Jul 14, 2014 07:11 AM EDT

NDMU Alumna Donates $1.5 Million to Fund Endowed Chair in School of Nursing

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Alumna Frances Kay Pitts has made a gift of $1.5 million to the Notre Dame of Maryland University to support the establishment of first endowed chair at the School of Nursing. Pitts earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996 from Notre Dame.

The donation made through the Pitts Family Foundation is deemed one of the school's largest gifts from a university alumna. The Frances Kay Pitts Endowed Chair for Nursing Leadership and Innovation will support scholarships, research and special projects in the School of Nursing.

Dean Katharine C. Cook said that the gift has come at an auspicious time when School of Nursing is undergoing rapid expansion.

"This gift will enrich the learning experience for our students and help to enhance our program. In addition, it will support faculty scholarship," Cook said in a statement.

During a recent visit to the school, Pitts was impressed by the Center for Caring with Technology that employs simulation experiences to help students develop essential nursing skills and practice human experience of caring.

"These students will be prepared when they enter the workplace. It's amazing to see the level of technology that is helping them to learn the many skills you need as a nurse. To think that this endowed chair will enable these opportunities to expand even more, it's exciting for me. It makes me proud to be part of it," Pitts said.

About 95 percent of the School of Nursing's graduates work in Maryland hospitals and health care facilities. The School has also produced nearly 2,000 nurses, nurse administrators and nurse educators during the past three decades.

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