May 9, 2023 - Education

UH College of Nursing gets new name, $20M donation

Illustration of a stethoscope made from a coin.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The University of Houston College of Nursing has been renamed the Andy and Barbara Gessner College of Nursing after the couple gifted the college $20 million.

Driving the news: The university announced the gift Monday, during National Nurses Week. The donation aims to address the nurse labor shortage.

Details: The donation will go toward strengthening education and research, bolstering clinical learning, funding scholarships and fellowships for students, establishing three endowed professorships, and ultimately increasing the number of highly educated nurses in the workforce, per a statement from the university.

Between the lines: The projected shortage of registered nurses in Texas is expected to increase from more than 29,000 to more than 57,000 by 2032, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

  • The nationwide nursing shortage is largely due to the current high nurse turnover rate following the COVID-19 pandemic along with a lack of educators, limited clinical placements and an increase in the demand for care of the aging population, per UH.

What they're saying: "We believe in nurses, and we need more of them right now," alumnus Andy Gessner said. "We’re all going to need a nurse at some time in our lives, and there's just not enough in the workforce or being educated for the future. The primary intent of our gift is to make more nurses available when we need them, now and in the future."

By the numbers: There are 375 nursing students across the three UH nursing instructional sites in Sugar Land and Katy and on the UH campus.


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