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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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$7 million School of Nursing donation from Glen, Becky Taylor creates one of state's finest endowments

For nurse-scholar chair, institute, fellowships

The $7 million gift to the School of Nursing from Glen and Becky Taylor is one of Minnesota's largest academic endowments.

By Robb Murray, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 5/9/2008]

Glen and Becky Taylor

Provost Scott Olson may have said it best: "Honestly," he said, looking at Glen Taylor, who along with his wife Becky were being honored for donating $7 million to Minnesota State University's School of Nursing, "what would we do without you?"

That was the sentiment Thursday afternoon at a ceremony held to announce the Taylors' gift. The $7 million will fund an endowed faculty position, creation of the Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society, and the Becky Taylor Doctoral Fellowships in Nursing.

It is believed to be the first endowed faculty position in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and is one of the largest donations to nursing education in Minnesota history.

No one has been selected to fill the endowed faculty position, but MSU said a search will begin soon. They hope to hire a "nationally prominent nurse-scholar who will lead the work and promote the mission of the Nursing Institute and its projects."

The fellowships will generate grants for Doctor of Nursing Practice students and their capstone clinical projects.

MSU President Richard Davenport said the gift puts MSU among the premier institutions in the region for nursing education.

After unveiling a plaque that commemorates the gift, Glen Taylor addressed the crowd of nursing faculty, students and other well wishers, telling them why he donated to the school of nursing.

He said he's known primarily on campus for the millions he gave to athletics — the very building in which Thursday's ceremony was held is called Taylor Center. But his philanthropic goal with MSU has always been academics.

Even before he gave the money for Taylor Center and Myers Field House, he made sure it was part of a broader plan to ensure progress on academic buildings was made, too.

"In my heart," he told the gathering, "I knew a lot of other things got done on this campus because of the leadership involved in building (Taylor Center)."

Becky Taylor, who still goes to work every day as a licensed practical nurse at Mankato House, said the gift is important because it will help the nursing shortage.

The gift will help MSU produce more nursing educators, which will address one of the causes of the nursing shortage: too few educators.

More nurses, in all sectors, are needed.

"We're all going to need it some day," said Becky Taylor, who received her nursing degree from South Central College. Her mother was also a nurse, as is her daughter.

In a prepared statement, the Taylors said, " Nurses have always played a critical role in the health-care system, and in the future they will be more important than ever to the well-being of families."

The Taylor-endowed grants will support research by Doctor of Nursing Practice students and faculty — research intended to improve family and society based health care. The fellowships will allow students to gather information and test new health-care strategies, and will provide them with mentors who are researching or practicing family health care.

To encourage new ideas, the Nursing Institute will sponsor an annual, nationally recognized meeting that will focus on one aspect of family and society based health care.

The event will bring prominent scholars to Minnesota State Mankato, and will encourage continuing dialogue among students, faculty and visiting scholars about innovations that link academia and clinical practice.

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