UC Irvine lands $40m gift to open nursing school

UCI UC Irvine via Flickr Creative Commons

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Philanthropists Sue and Bill Gross have given UC Irvine a $40 million gift - the largest in school history - to help establish a nursing school. 

UC Irvine's current nursing program  has about 160 undergraduate students and about 35 masters students, says Dr. Howard Federoff, the school's vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of medicine. With the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, the university is expected to nearly double its number of nursing students, he adds.

The new school will train undergraduate students and expand the school's graduate- and doctorate-level nursing programs, Federoff says. Nurses with advanced degrees can play an important role in filling the growing need for primary care providers as the population ages and more people gain access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, he says.

UCI will be the fourth school in the University of California system to have a nursing school. Federoff could not say when the school will open. 

Sue and Bill Gross also gave UCI $10 million in 2006 to help create a state-of-the-art stem cell research center. Bill Gross was co-founder of bond management colossus Pacific Investment Management Company.

The nursing school is the first of three new health care-related schools that UCI plans to launch, Federoff says, noting the university also intends to open schools of pharmacy and public health. Eventually, he says, students from the three schools will learn, work and practice together.