Florida Southern College president announces $2.5 million gift from donor
“The College’s mission is to provide our students with educational experiences that promote their academic, social, spiritual, and physical development so that they are prepared to make important and positive contributions to society,” said Kerr. “One of the most important areas where our students are making meaningful contributions is in the area of health care,” she said, citing national statistics that indicate a shortage of nurses currently and an increased demand for nursing professionals in the coming decade. “Lakeland is no different from the rest of the country in its burgeoning need for more nurses to serve the residents of our growing city and Polk County, and Alberta Blanton’s magnanimous gift will provide students and faculty with a state-of-the-art building in which to learn and teach.”
For the past 30 years FSC has offered a BSN degree at its Lakeland and Orlando campuses for students who are already licensed nurses. Two years ago, the nursing department opened a master of science degree program in Lakeland with generous support from Lakeland Regional Medical Center. A grant from the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation allowed the college to launch a Nurse Educator Curriculum Track within the master of science degree in nursing program earlier this year.
More recently, a half million dollar commitment from Lakeland Regional Medical Center will enable FSC to add a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing, the first baccalaureate nursing program offered in Polk County. The Florida Board of Nursing is currently reviewing the College’s plans for the four-year program; the Board’s accreditation process requires that the College demonstrate that it can adequately accommodate a larger student body and provide the technologically advanced facilities to meet the classroom and laboratory requirements of the four-year nursing curriculum. The Joe K. and Alberta Blanton Nursing Building’s cutting-edge facility will allow FSC to meet and exceed those accreditation requirements.
“The nursing faculty is immensely grateful to Alberta Blanton and the Blanton family for this magnificent contribution,” said Mavra E. Kear, nursing department chair and associate professor of nursing. “Their endorsement of our nursing program is a wonderful example of the support we have in this community. We intend to commit ourselves fully to realizing the potential this inspiring gift generates.”
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