ASU Receives $50M Gift to Support College of Nursing, Biodesign Institute

According to an Arizona State University (ASU) announcement, Charlene and J. Orin Edson will donate a gift of $50 million to the school: $25 million to the university’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and $25 million to the Biodesign Institute.

The Edson’s donation is one of the largest received in ASU history. The donation to the institute will support the research and education on causes and care of dementia.

The nursing college will be renamed the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. A new center will be named the Grace Center for Innovation in Nursing Education, named in honor of Charlene’s mother, who was a nurse, according to AZ Central.

“This is a tremendous $50 million investment in a really important area where we can be of greater service to the public,” Crow told The Republic.

Since their first donation in 2003, the Edsons have given over $65 million to the Arizona State, said chief executive officer of the ASU Foundation Gretchen Buhlig.

“We believe in ASU’s interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to finding solutions,” the Edsons said in a statement. “We look forward to new discoveries and solutions to better the quality of life for people affected by brain disease and the heartache of those that love them.”

The donation will allow the university to connect people from various disciplines to further research and treatment for dementia and attempt to determine a cure for the condition, Crow said.

The funds will be an “overnight enhancement” in ASU’s potential to help those affected by the disease, Crow said.

The Edson gift will support two kinds of work at the institute – one focused on causes and diagnosis of dementia and the other on ways to help dementia patients, their caregivers and families, said Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute.

Dementia research has already begun at the institute, however the gift will help recruit additional talent to the institution through job appointments and an annual international symposium, LaBaer said.

Judith Karshmer, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said the donation will give the university the ability to connect research and treatment with a “bench to the bedside” approach.

The funding will help establish a joint geriatric nurse practitioner/Ph.D. degree, making the university one of the few schools around the nation with a program of that nature, Karshmer said.

“Instead of focusing on the researcher or the clinician, it will prepare the clinician-researcher,” she said.

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