Millions donated to nursing program

Nursing Student Assistant Shelby Mayhunt (right) walks senior Gabby Kroeger through the procedure for drawing blood. Nursing students will attend a program with a new name this semester.

Managing Editor Mike Ezekiel

Many recognize UNA as one of the top nursing programs in the country, and this fall will only add to the hype.

After a $3 million donation to the nursing program, officials decided to change the program’s name to the Anderson College of Nursing, starting this fall.

The Anderson family, well-known in the Shoals for holding majority stock in Books-A-Million among other endeavors, donated the money as part of the “Build the Pride” comprehensive campaign, UNA’s crusade to encourage the community to donate to the university.

The UNA Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the nursing program at their last meeting June 13, said Vice President for University Advancement Deborah Shaw.

“The Andersons have been long time supporters of the university and the Shoals area,” Shaw said. “They are a very important member of our family and our community. We are fortunate they live in this area.”

The $3 million will go toward the construction of the new nursing building, which will replace Floyd Hall after its demolition, Shaw said. The university has not yet released a timeline for the project.

While making the donation, Shaw said the Anderson family was hesitant about putting their name in the program’s title, but the university wanted to recognize them.

“They are very humble people and extremely charitable,” she said. “I told them we wanted to honor them and recognize them for what they have done, and they really had to think about that.”

Shaw said the deciding factor for the family to include their name was to encourage others to support UNA.

“Joel Anderson, who is on our board of trustees, came to me and said, ‘If our coming forward can possibly help someone else support this great university, then we need to do it,’” she said.

The Anderson College of Nursing is excited about its rebranding and thankful for the support, said Linda Austin, the Associate Dean of the Anderson College of Nursing.

“It’s exciting to know that we have support from alumni and our community,” Austin said. “We like being the Anderson College of Nursing. I know that they care about nursing and care about our community.”

Austin said the only substantial changes for the nursing faculty and students is the new building and the name itself, as the program’s main objective is maintaining its high reputation through the name change.

“It’s no secret that there are students who do not get into our program,” Austin said. “That’s a nationwide way of doing business in nursing. It’s our obligation to admit students that we feel will be successful.

“That obligation continues into educating them so that they will be successful through the program and meet the benchmarks. When it comes time to graduate and take the exam, they will become nurses.”

Junior Hannah James said she starts the Anderson College of Nursing program this fall, and the Anderson support motivates her to succeed.

“I think it’s really special that they wanted to give specifically to the nursing program,” James said. “Our nursing program has done well, and its something that draws a lot of students to the school. For them to help us get this new building will do a lot of good for us.”