BJC HealthCare has made a contribution to UMSL’s College of Nursing to create the Donald L. Ross Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing Practice. (Photo by August Jennewein)

BJC HealthCare has been an important educational and research partner to the University of Missouri–St. Louis for many years. And it’s also been a significant employer of its graduates – particularly in nursing.

That strong partnership was solidified further by the announcement on Jan. 23 that BJC HealthCare has made a contribution to UMSL’s College of Nursing to create the Donald L. Ross Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing Practice. It will be UMSL’s first endowed chair position, although the university has 38 endowed professorships. The endowed chair honors Donald Ross, vice chairman of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who recently retired as chairman of BJC HealthCare’s board of directors. He was named chairman in 2009, and has served as a board volunteer since 1994. Ross will remain a member of the BJC Board of Directors.

“During his tenure as BJC board chair, Don Ross was instrumental in expanding opportunities for more young women and men to become nurses,” said Steven H. Lipstein, BJC HealthCare president and chief executive officer. “His commitment to nursing education is no doubt influenced by his wife, Nancy, a retired nurse who continues to advocate for the importance of the profession.”

“I can say with certainty that you have made an excellent investment in the future of nursing and nursing education,” said Susan Dean-Baar, dean of the College of Nursing at UMSL. “This gift will further our partnership with BJC HealthCare by providing many opportunities to develop new and innovative programs and initiatives for UMSL students and BJC HealthCare staff to advance nursing practice. More importantly, it will improve care provided to those we serve.”

The endowed chair will expand the opportunities to advance nursing practice and build and sustain a program of existing outside-funded research and/or educational programmatic funding in partnership with BJC HealthCare in St. Louis.

The faculty member will design experiences for nursing students and staff related to translating research to practice and developing population-based clinical innovations to address the needs of today and provide models for the future.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George said the enduring partnership with BJC continues to ensure UMSL provides the region with a superior work force.

“We have motivated students and talented faculty,” he said. “But it would be fair to say that our academic accomplishments would not be as great without the world-class resources BJC makes available to us. This gift is another example of BJC’s commitment to the region’s health and provides another margin of excellence to ensure UMSL continues to educate and graduate world-class nurses.”

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez