The William and Sue Gross Family Foundation has committed $40 million to the University of California, Irvine to establish a nursing school and assist in the construction of a new building to house it. The contribution, which will help the university address critical health care concerns, is the largest single gift ever to UC Irvine.
“This visionary gift will have a significant, lasting impact on the health of our community, state and nation,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “As our society ages and depends more on primary care, the need for nurses is urgent. The Grosses’ support will result in a substantial expansion of UCI’s nursing program, ensuring a top-quality education for more talented, qualified students – and the leaders who train them – to help enrich the pipeline of prepared, skilled healthcare professionals.”
The gift will enable the continued growth and excellence of UC Irvine’s nursing program, which has gained an admirable reputation since its founding less than a decade ago. The highly selective program – which offers fully accredited bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees – admitted just 4 percent of its undergraduate applicants in the fall of 2015 because of space limitations. In February 2015, NurseJournal.org named it as one of the top 10 programs in the western United States for quality, value and satisfaction, and its nurse practitioner faculty is consistently ranked within the country’s top 25.
“We’re proud to partner with UCI to help solve some of the most pressing healthcare needs of our generation,” said Sue Gross, president of the Gross Family Foundation. “We expect our support for a nursing school to have a broad impact, as the demand for nurses and their teachers touches the heart of our health care system.”
According to recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation will need more than 1 million new registered nurses by 2022. And an increase in nurse practitioners – registered nurses with advanced degrees – will be required to cover the looming shortage of primary care physicians.
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, recognized the significance of the UC Irvine-Gross Family Foundation partnership. “Ten years ago, the foundation provided capital to build a stem cell research center on the UCI campus, and today we see the fruits of that donation: new hope for those suffering from spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders and impaired sight. The nursing gift builds upon this extraordinary research to expand our contributions to teaching and public service. Together, UCI and the Gross Family Foundation are forging a comprehensive healthcare legacy that will improve lives far into the future.”
When approved, the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing will be the fourth nursing school in the prestigious UC system. The gift will fund the construction of the Sue and Bill Gross Nursing and Health Sciences Hall on campus, which will allow the school to hire new faculty and nearly double current student enrollment. This includes a sizable increase in admissions to the graduate degree program, which supplies future nursing educators.
Moreover, the funding will broaden the reach of community partnerships addressing the healthcare needs of underserved populations, such as off-campus programs focused on nutrition and wellness, prenatal care, and complex clinical cases requiring a team-based or coordinated approach.
“Rigorous, innovative and bold, the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing will help train tomorrow’s nursing leaders at regional, state, national and international levels,” said Dr. Howard Federoff, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of medicine at UC Irvine. “And strong ties with the UC Irvine Medical Center and the School of Medicine will enable us to ground our students in the practice and science of contemporary health care.”
The gift continues the generous support from Orange County philanthropists Sue and Bill Gross to UC Irvine. In 2006, their foundation gave $10 million to create a stem cell research center and help fund a state-of-the-art facility for this work. They were awarded the 2012 UCI Medal – the university’s highest honor – for their exceptional contributions to UCI’s mission of teaching, research and public service.
About the William and Sue Gross Family Foundation: Bill Gross co-founded Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), which grew to become a global investment management firm with $2 trillion in assets and 3,000 employees in 12 countries. In September 2014, Gross joined Janus Capital Group to manage the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund. A proud University of California alumnus (with an M.B.A. from UCLA), he’s a renowned bond market expert and the author of two books on investing. His wife, Sue, is president of the William and Sue Gross Family Foundation, which has donated generously to healthcare and educational institutions throughout the world. The couple reside in Laguna Beach, not far from the UC Irvine campus.