Foundation gives $20,000 for UHV nursing students

Kathryn Tart

The University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing recently received a boost for its recruitment efforts in the Fort Bend area.

The Gulf Coast Medical Foundation approved a $20,000 grant for student scholarships at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers the nursing program.

"This gift shows that the Gulf Coast Medical Foundation wants to give back to its community, and it is an investment of confidence in our growing school," said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. "This will be a tremendous boost to our continuing recruitment efforts in Wharton and Fort Bend counties."

The scholarships will be available only to former Wharton County Junior College students who are attending at least two classes at UHV as undergraduate or graduate nursing students. The scholarships will be awarded to students starting in the fall and will be given individually based on UHV School of Nursing criteria and financial need.

Melissa Burnham, executive vice president for the Gulf Coast Medical Foundation, said the foundation was happy about the growth and progress of the UHV School of Nursing and its graduate and undergraduate students.

"The grant committee was very pleased with the report on the last group of students who received scholarships," Burnham said. "They had excellent grades. We thank all those who work in the nursing program and are appreciative that they are helping make our community a better place."

Growth in the UHV nursing program has been rapid since its start in 2006. Students can now pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees including the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Second Degree BSN, Master of Science in Nursing or RN to MSN Bridge. The UHV School of Nursing also is fully accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education.

This second grant marks a doubling of the first Gulf Coast Medical Foundation donation of $10,000 in 2010.

Tart said the donation and the recent articulation agreement between WCJC and UHV will help streamline student transfers and provide needed financial assistance.

"We already share a nursing simulation center with WCJC at the UH System at Sugar Land location, and these scholarships are an ideal way to keep students in the educational pipeline from their associate degree to a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing," she said. "These scholarships will make a significant impact as these students move forward with becoming nursing leaders for the community."

Gulf Coast Medical Foundation, based in Wharton, is a private entity formed after proceeds from the sale of two hospital campuses were added to the foundation's assets. It awards grants to qualified nonprofit organizations in Wharton, Fort Bend and Matagorda counties in the medical and health fields, human services, education and the arts. One of the foundation's top priorities is to attract and retain medical professionals of all types to its service area. Since it began awarding grants in 1984, it has distributed about $15.3 million throughout its service area.

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