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Victoria P. Niederhauser
Victoria P. Niederhauser

UT’s College of Nursing is kicking off a $15 million fundraising campaign. Half of the funds raised during the Investing in the Journey to the Top 25 campaign are projected to support a new nursing building.

The official announcement will be made tonight at the NightinGala, an annual event that honors a distinguished alum and an individual who has made significant contributions to the nursing profession.

“The College of Nursing is a nationally recognized leader for educating and training students to become highly skilled nurses,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “This fundraising goal will enhance the great work already being done.”

The college has identified six strategic areas within the campaign—state-of-the-art facilities and simulation capacity; curriculum innovation across all programs; interdisciplinary and interprofessional research; commitment to community engagement; improved working and learning environments; and operational excellence.

A primary strategic priority for the college’s campaign is renovation and addition of the current nursing building, a project that is estimated to cost $55 million.

“Investing in the College of Nursing will support the next several generations of nurse leaders across this state, country, and beyond,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the college. “Our college vision states that we’re leading the way in nursing education, research, and practice to maximize health and transform health care. As we are the state’s flagship university, this goal will help our graduates make a significant impact wherever their paths take them.”

The college operates from a 42,000-square-foot building, which houses 66 faculty members and 17 staff members and delivers nursing courses for more than 800 undergraduate and graduate students. Additional space is needed.

“Our current building is 40 years old and we’ve simply outgrown the space,” said Niederhauser. “A newer, larger facility will allow us to provide state-of-the-art learning spaces, upgrade our labs to foster biobehavioral research and create learning environments that encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. In addition, having more space will allow us to educate more nurses.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections for 2012–2022, registered nursing is among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2022. Nationally, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

In Tennessee, a 25 percent increase in the number of RNs will be needed by 2024 to meet demand. But according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, Tennessee will be able to meet only half of the demand for registered nurses by 2020.

Additional priorities for the college’s campaign include funds to support, attract, and retain high-caliber faculty; graduate fellowships for advanced practice nurses; undergraduate merit-based scholarships to include named scholarship opportunities; and undergraduate need-based scholarships for students who are eligible for the Tennessee Pledge and Promise programs.

Academic building projects are funded through a state-mandated formula that requires the university to commit 25 percent of the total cost from private and institutional funds. State capital outlay requests are made annually through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.


Emily Kissel (865-974-2755,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,