The medical and nursing schools at the University of Maryland received multimillion-dollar donations to support their missions.
The Maryland School of Medicine announced it will receive a $20 million gift to advance biomedical innovation from Dr. Robert E. Fischell, inventor of multiple life-saving devices, and the School of Nursing has received a $10 million gift from Bill and Joanne Conway for student scholarships.
Fischell, a University of Maryland scientist and engineer with more than 200 patents to his name, has donated millions to the university in the past to help establish the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices. His latest gift will support a new center, the Robert E. Fischell Center for Biomedical Innovation. It also will provide funding for the school of medicine’s new 450,000-square-foot research building, Health Sciences Research Facility III, as well as for research and endowed professorships.
Fischell has had a hand in numerous inventions including coronary artery stents, the implantable heart defibrillator, the implantable insulin pump, a device to prevent migraine headaches and a device to prevent death from heart attacks. He received the National Medal for Technology and Innovation in 2016 from President Obama and was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.
“Our specific purpose for the new center is to help expand the [school’s] capacity for biomedical engineering so that it will produce new technologies and devices that will help treat our most critical and chronic diseases,” Fischell said in a statement.
The donation to the nursing school, the school’s largest to date, came through the Conway’s Bedford Falls Foundation, which has given to support scholarship funds at schools around the region.
The Conway’s gift will aid nearly 350 students over five years and help address the state’s nursing workforce shortage, school officials said in announcing the donation. Maryland is among four states expecting a registered nurse shortage by 2025 that could exceed 10,000 positions.
The Conways have pledged more than $15 million to the school in the past three years. The latest gift is among the largest scholarship gifts to any of the nation’s schools of nursing.
Bill Conway is co-founder and co-executive chairman of the Carlyle Group, a politically connected private equity firm in Washington, D.C. He and his wife are trustees of their Bedford Falls Foundation, which has given scholarship funds around the Mid-Atlantic region.
The Maryland donation covers in-state tuition and fees for nursing students. Post-baccalaureate recipients must commit to teaching as a clinical instructor, working in a full-time faculty position or serving as a clinical preceptor — a practitioner who also mentors and instructs — within three years of graduation.
“Maryland is among just a handful of states facing the country’s worst shortages in nursing,” Dr. Jay A. Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said in a statement. “The Conways’ extraordinarily generous gift will begin remediating these shortages. And ultimately, what that means is that the care we provide to Marylanders will improve.”