UMass Amherst Officially Dedicates Elaine Marieb College of Nursing

AMHERST — UMass Amherst celebrated the life and legacy of alumna Elaine Marieb on Monday at the official dedication of the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing.

Marieb, who died in 2018, had previously made gifts of more than $2 million for campus-wide scholarships prior to the 2021 gift of $21.5 million from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation, the largest cash gift in UMass Amherst history. The funds are advancing the university’s innovative nursing engineering center and also providing support for student scholarships, an endowed professorship, and mentorship and research initiatives designed to further access, equity, and excellence in nursing education.

“Elaine Marieb lived her values. Through her teaching, textbooks and philanthropy, she sought to ensure the transformative power of education touched as many lives as possible,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said. “Today, with the naming of the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, her reach grows exponentially, as all students who pass through these doors will learn and practice under her name.”

Several state and local officials who spoke during the ceremony praised the university’s response, and that of its students and faculty in the College of Nursing in particular, during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. They noted how the Marieb Foundation’s gift will help address the critical shortage of nurses and healthcare workers in the state and also empower nurses to have a leading voice in the development of healthcare products.

State Rep. John Lawn, House chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said the gift came at a critical time. “This is a time in the healthcare profession when we have over 5,000 open positions in nursing across the Commonwealth and over 20,000 open positions in healthcare in hospitals, not including nursing facilities. We are really in crisis.”

“This gift is transformative,” Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders added, noting that it empowers nurses be not only at the bedside, but also in leadership roles. “The foundation’s gift is really for the future and that next generation. UMass Amherst will usher in a new era of nursing education and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Allison Vorderstrasse, dean of the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, added that “this is a sign of incredible trust in the college and its institutional leadership. This gift and the resources it will provide will have an incredible and long-standing impact on our research, teaching, and growing areas of need, like public-health promotion and campus well-being initiatives.”

Also taking part in the celebration were alumni Michael and Theresa Hluchyj, who gave a founding $1 million gift to create the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation; UMass President Marty Meehan; state Rep. Mindy Domb; UMass Amherst Provost Tricia Serio; Karen Guliano and Frank Sup, co-directors of the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation; and representatives of the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation.