No other US college of nursing has ever received a larger gift. Montana State University announced a gift of $101 million for the MSU College of Nursing from Mark and Robyn Jones, founders of Goosehead Insurance of Westlake, Texas.

The money was given to the school as part of the Jones' mission to improve access to health care in rural and frontier communities. The MSU College of Nursing started in 1937 and has been producing high quality medical professionals with bachelors, masters and doctoral-level degrees. MSU is the largest producer of registered nurses in Montana and has also graduated nurse educators, leaders and nurse practitioners.

MSU President Waded Cruzado said in a news release, "Straight from the hearts of Mark and Robin, this gift will forever change health care in Montana, and it will serve as a model for the nation. Thanks to their vision, we will have access to tangible tools, such as high quality simulation labs, new facilities across our nursing campuses, and more registered nurses, and doctor of nursing practice prepared nurse practitioners and nurse midwives."

School officials said the 100 million dollars will provide new facilities at the five nursing campuses in Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula. It will also establish five endowed faculty professorships - the first ever in the MSU nursing college. A scholarship fund will help nursing students. A new program will be established for certified nurse midwifery. Those courses will increase the number of specialized maternal health care providers for rural and remote Montana areas.

The reason for the gift? Benefactor Robyn Jones said, "We both grew up visiting Montana with our families, and now it is one of the places we call home. We've seen first-hand the health care challenges that Montana faces, and we wanted to do something that will make an impact on the people of this beautiful state." Mark Jones said, "Whether in our community or our business, we've always believed that people come first. Montana holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to working with the MSU College of Nursing to help transform the health care community here and nationwide." You can read more about the huge financial gift at the MSU news site.

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