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University of Maryland School of Nursing receives record $13.8 million gift; deanship named for donors

The University of Maryland School of Nursing announced this week that it has received its largest financial gift to date, a $13.83 million donation from Bill and Joanne Conway.

The commitment will create 345 scholarships for students until fall 2027 through the Conways’ Bedford Falls Fund, the school said in a release Tuesday. The scholarships cover in-state tuition, fees and undergraduate books, across all degree programs.

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The Conways have pledged almost $30 million in the past six years, funding more than 830 such scholarships. Tuesday’s gift also includes $1 million to help renovate the nursing building at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, which the nursing school said will help to expand simulation labs while providing both administrative and student-success suites.

As a result of the Conways’ donations, the University of Maryland School of Nursing said its deanship has been renamed in their honor.

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“Right now, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for nurses is especially acute,” said Dr. Bruce E. Jarrell, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in a statement. “The Conways’ extraordinary generosity continues to help meet that need and propel the University of Maryland School of Nursing forward. Countless lives will be positively impacted because of their support. I’m especially pleased that the deanship will now be associated with these incredible and generous people.”

With this latest gift, Bill Conway, a co-founder of asset management firm The Carlyle Group and chairman of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s board of trustees, and his wife have provided scholarships for 10,000 nursing students at various colleges. The nursing school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, to which they made a $40 million total contribution to support the construction of a new building, is named for them.

The Conways began donating to the Maryland school in 2015. Over the years, their gifts have helped to expand nursing school enrollment enrollment, added opportunities for registered nurses to earn bachelor’s degrees, and provided scholarships to master’s and doctoral students.

“This enormously generous gift from Bill and Joanne Conway is just the latest in a series of gifts from them that have transformed education access for nursing students,” University System of Maryland Chancellor Dr. Jay A. Perman said in a statement. “That access is vital to population health at all times, of course, but during a deadly pandemic — when you see every day the life-saving impact of a robust and well-educated nursing workforce — gifts like the Conways’ are especially meaningful.”

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