Nursing School Celebrates 50th Year, Gets Major Gift
Miami Dade College’s acclaimed School of Nursing with more than 19,000 nursing alumni is embarking on a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary, recognizing five decades of helping meet a growing workforce need.
The acclaimed School now has a powerful partner in that mission. The León family and Leon Medical Centers, one of South Florida’s leading health care providers, recently made a wise and generous investment in the industry’s future by donating $5 million to the School, which will be renamed the Benjamin Leon School of Nursing at Miami Dade College.
With the nation facing a critical shortage of nurses, MDC’s outstanding School of Nursing is uniquely positioned to rapidly and strategically put this donation to use in further expanding its educational capacity by augmenting its programs, facilities and infrastructure.
“Our goal is to help educate tomorrow’s nurses, invest in the future of our nation’s health care system and improve the health and well-being of those in our community,” said Benjamín León III, president of Leon Medical Centers and an MDC Trustee. “I'm confident the return on this investment will be great because all MDC nursing graduates I’ve encountered throughout the years have been exceptionally prepared and thoroughly professional. They are the best of the best.”
This recent donation is yet another example of the León family’s strong tradition of giving and philanthropy at MDC and in the community at large.
“We are extremely grateful for the León family’s generosity, which has raised the bar of civic engagement and giving for all to follow,” said MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “With this gift, we will take MDC’s already nationally renowned School of Nursing to even greater heights. It will also further solidify the León family’s name as South Florida’s health care pioneers of the 21st century.”
Housed at MDC’s Medical Campus, the School of Nursing produces more nursing graduates than any other college in the country. Nationally recognized, it won the Community Service Award from the Florida Nurses Association last year for creating innovations in nursing, fostering quality patient care and enhancing professional growth. The College also was selected for its voluntary-service contributions that have helped improve the health of the South Florida community.
Each year tens of thousands of nursing school applicants nationwide and hundreds at MDC are turned away due to an insufficient number of faculty and clinical sites along with budget constraints. The León donation goes a long way toward reversing this trend at the College.
“We are rapidly expanding our enrollment in order to meet the workforce needs of the community,” said Dr. Amy Pettigrew, dean of MDC’s School of Nursing. “For five decades, we’ve delivered a program that produces in-demand graduates, and we always want to be looking toward the future to produce the best nursing graduates in the country.”
— AMS, BK