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Donors to Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy boost support for facilities, student services and scholarships

Health Sciences Faculty

Established donors to the West Virginia University Schools of Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy increased their support in fiscal year 2021 to upgrade facilities, improve services and bolster scholarships for WVU students.

School of Dentistry Alumni Association members contributed $300,000 to support Transforming Oral Health: The Campaign for Facilities, a $15 million fundraising effort to upgrade facilities at the School. That total includes a $125,000 contribution from School of Dentistry Alumni Association Board of Governors members and individual gifts of $25,000 and $150,000, respectively, from members Michael George, DDS, and Loring Ross, DDS, to ensure the Alumni Association would be recognized for its support. The patient reception and waiting area at the School’s Urgent Care Clinic will be named in honor of the group’s generosity.

Collectively, all three gifts will ensure the next generation of dental professionals is trained in state-of-the-art facilities that mirror the excellent education and quality patient care provided at WVU. (Read more.)

“This donation toward the actual bricks and mortar of our school is literally leaving a permanent mark by our former graduates,” then-Interim Dean Fotinos Panagakos, DMD, PhD, said. “The Alumni Association and Drs. George and Ross are helping improve the experiences of both our patients and our students.”

A $30,000 endowment gift from Associate Professor of Nursing Kari Sand-Jecklin and her husband, David Jecklin, will ensure that future generations of School of Nursing students have access to pivotal peer tutoring services.

Sand-Jecklin developed and oversees the Peer Tutoring Program, which provides personalized instruction to help struggling students succeed. She and her husband have made generous contributions to bolster the program since its inception in 2017. Their latest gift will ensure the program continues following Sand-Jecklin’s planned retirement. (Read more.)

“Being tutored by a peer can provide unique insight and experiences that are beneficial to the student requiring tutoring support. It also gives students an opportunity for face-to-face communication and interaction outside of the classroom or clinical setting,” Tara Hulsey, dean of the WVU School of Nursing and vice president of Health Promotion and Wellness, said. “We are grateful to Kari and David for their generous gift and know this will help us prepare more nurses to work in our communities.”   

School of Pharmacy alumnus Jim Smith contributed an additional $100,000 to bolster his namesake scholarship fund. The scholarship is awarded annually to a pharmacy student with demonstrated financial need who plans to practice community pharmacy. (Read more.)

Smith’s gifts to the James F. Smith Scholarship fund and the School of Pharmacy Annual Scholarship fund have provided support for more than 40 students to date.

“Similar to his leadership in the pharmacy profession, Jim has made an enormous impact on students by his scholarships,” William Petros, Gates Wigner Dean of the School of Pharmacy, stated. “He is truly an inspiration to both our students as well as alumni.”

These gifts were were made in conjunction with WVU’s fourth Day of Giving, a 24-hour online fundraising event held March 3. Across the University system, alumni and friends made over 5,000 gifts totaling $11.9 million.

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