Newman University officials have announced a public fundraising campaign to upgrade existing health science education facilities and to build a new science education center to be named the Bishop Gerber Science Center, honoring The Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Wichita.
The campaign, called Facing Forward – A Campaign for Newman University, is designed to raise $30 million to build a new 51,400 square foot science building, renovate the existing Eck Hall on the Newman campus, and provide for student scholarships and the university’s endowment. The university has already raised almost $25 million during the “silent phase” of the campaign. The public phase was officially announced at a Feb. 6 banquet by Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D.
“We are extremely happy to announce the Facing Forward campaign to the public, and excited at the prospect of the renovations and construction of new science and health sciences facilities,” Carrocci said. “We’re taking bold steps with this campaign, but Newman has a history of Facing Forward to transform the future and shape our destiny.”
Carrocci noted the bravery and boldness of St. Maria De Mattias, who founded the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) in Italy during the early 19th century. The ASC also took bold steps when they came to Kansas in the early 20th century, and founded, in the depths of the Great Depression, Sacred Heart Junior College, which grew to become today’s Newman University.
“Taking bold steps is in our DNA!” Carrocci said. “The bold steps we’re taking with the Facing Forward campaign will create top-notch science and health sciences facilities that will serve Newman students, the Wichita community, and the region through the 21st century.”
High quality programs
Newman University is respected across the region for the quality of its science and health sciences education programs, and the quality of its graduates. Many Newman alumni are now doctors, nurses, nurse anesthetists, pharmacists and other health care professionals in the Wichita area. Over the past 15 years, 95 percent of qualified students in the Newman pre-med program who applied have been accepted into medical schools. Other science graduates are accepted into postgraduate programs in chemistry, biology and other science fields at universities across the nation, including such prestigious schools as Notre Dame, Washington University and Iowa State.
Newman is also known for its high-quality nursing and health sciences programs. The pass rates of Newman students on professional licensing exams are consistently among the highest in Kansas. Newman educated nurses, radiation technologists, respiratory therapists, sonographers and other allied health professionals are sought after by medical facilities in Wichita and the region, not only for the excellence of their technical skills, but also for the ethical, spiritual and moral dimension they bring to their work as a result of a Newman education.
“We are a major supplier of talent for this region in the sciences, nursing and health sciences professions,” Carrocci said. “Five of our programs are the only ones offered in the region.”
Carrocci added that Newman graduates achieve such high levels even though the university has been challenged for years with outdated facilities. Engineers and construction professionals have said that expansion of the current science center on the Newman campus is not practical or cost-effective.
The Bishop Gerber Science Center
The new facilities that will be made possible by the Facing Forward campaign will include the renovation and upgrading of current health sciences facilities located in Eck Hall, and the construction of a new science building. The new facilities will allow for up-to-date technology and equipment, more research areas and “smart” classrooms, and simulation labs, which are increasingly necessary to properly train clinical skills and to meet industry and accreditation standards.
The cost of the new and renovated facilities will be $24.5 million. The remainder of funds raised by the campaign will be for the Annual Fund, which supports student scholarships and program costs, and the university’s endowment and planned gifts, which provide for the future sustainability of the university.
The Bishop Gerber Science Center pays tribute to Bishop Gerber, who has long been an advocate for Catholic higher education and a supporter of Newman University.
“We at Newman University are grateful and humbled that Bishop Gerber gave us his consent to name the science center for him,” Carrocci said. “It will stand as a visible legacy of Bishop Gerber’s life and a permanent reminder of his lasting contributions to the Diocese, to Newman University, and to countless other organizations in the community and throughout the region.”
Gerber also serves as spiritual co-chair of the campaign, along with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region. The Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme, Bishop of the Wichita Diocese, serves as honorary co-chair with Kathy and Patrick O’Shaughnessy. Campaign co-chairs are Dana and Larry Fugate, and Melissa and Bart Grelinger, M.D.
“The benefits of the new science facilities will not be limited to Newman University,” Carrocci added. “Area employers will benefit from a better-prepared healthcare workforce, and the region as a whole will benefit from an increased number of well-educated graduates of all professions. I urge the people of the Wichita area to support our very worthy campaign.”
For more information, visit www.newmanff.com or follow hashtag #NUFacingForward on social media.