BOZEMAN — Logan Health has signed a letter of intent to donate land for a new nursing education building in Kalispell to be built with a portion of a $101 million investment by philanthropists Mark and Robyn Jones to Montana State University.
“We’re excited to be involved in this investment in the education for our future nurses. There’s no better training than learning alongside the highly qualified, experienced nurses at Logan Health, and we’re honored to host nursing students from many programs within the state,” said Logan Health Medical Center President and Chief Nursing Officer April McGauley. “This new facility will help increase the number of graduating nurses, which will help us better serve our patients.”
In August 2021, Mark and Robyn Jones announced a philanthropic investment of $101 million to Montana State University for the construction of new, larger, state-of-the-art educational facilities on the five campuses of its nursing college in Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula. This investment provides the first opportunity to have university-owned facilities in Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula, which currently utilize leased facilities.
MSU’s nursing college, now named the Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing, provides baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral educated nurses but has been unable to significantly increase its number of graduates due to limited space. With the Joneses’ philanthropic investment providing new facilities in five cities across the state, the college aims to fill the state’s projected shortfall of nurses by 2030.
“Montana State University’s ongoing partnership with Logan Health is critically important to our nursing college’s efforts to meet the state’s projected shortfall of registered nurses,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “We are grateful to Logan Health for this incredible gift and equally grateful for their continued partnership.”
Logan Health will provide land located on the north side of its Kalispell campus for the new nursing education building.
“We are pleased to be part of this project and are excited to have enhanced nursing education on our campus,” said Logan Health President and CEO Dr. Craig Lambrecht. “Partnerships like these offer significant benefits to our community and will positively impact patient care for years to come.”
Mark and Robyn Jones are the founders of Goosehead Insurance Inc., which has offices across the nation. Founded in 2003 by Robyn Jones, Goosehead now has more than 2,300 offices in the U.S.
The Joneses, who have a home in Whitefish, have said their intention with the $101 million is to help address one of the most defining challenges of our time: access to health care, particularly for residents of rural and frontier communities, where there is low population and high geographic remoteness.
The Joneses’ philanthropic investment — the largest ever given to a college of nursing at the time, as well as the largest private gift in the history of the state of Montana — will:
- Provide funding for new, university-owned facilities at each of the MSU College of Nursing’s five campuses in Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula. Equipped with modern classrooms and state-of-the-art simulation labs, nursing students will hone their critical thinking and practice their skills in these new facilities.
- Establish five endowed faculty professorships — the first in the history of the MSU College of Nursing. These endowed professorships will position MSU to attract top faculty talent during a nationwide nursing faculty shortage.
- Develop an endowed scholarship fund that will allow the MSU College of Nursing to keep the cost of nursing education affordable for all students.
- Support the development of a certified nurse midwifery program at MSU, which would be the first and only program of its kind in the state, for preparing doctoral level nurses who will significantly increase the number of specialized maternal health care providers capable and willing to provide services to rural and remote communities in Montana.
Logan Health is a nonprofit, 603-bed health system based in Kalispell. While the main medical campus is located in Flathead County, Logan Health draws from a total service area covering 13 counties, nearly 40,000 square miles and a population of more than 600,000. The health system consists of six hospitals, more than 50 provider clinics and a host of other health care services, including the nation’s first rural air ambulance service (A.L.E.R.T.), which it has maintained for more than 40 years.
The Logan Health land donation will go before the Montana Board of Regents of the Montana University System for approval.
Founded in 1937, Montana State University’s Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing offers bachelor’s, accelerated bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral-level nursing education to produce nurses, nurse leaders, nurse educators and nurse practitioners for Montana. Great Falls was the first location where upper division, clinical nursing education was offered, followed by the establishment of the Billings nursing campus in 1939, Missoula campus in 1976, and Kalispell campus in 2002. While nursing majors have taken prerequisite courses in Bozeman at MSU since 1937, upper division or clinical nursing education was first offered at the Bozeman campus location in 2004.
Montana State is the largest producer of registered nurses in Montana and is the sole provider of doctoral nurse practitioner education in the state. More information is available at montana.edu/nursing.
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