Alumni and Friends | For the Media

Straker Foundation makes transformational gift to Ohio University Zanesville nursing program

Ohio University Zanesville is growing their nursing program through nurse training facility renovations, thanks to a $1.5M gift from the J.W. & M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation.

The OHIO Zanesville nursing program is one of the top producers of nurses in east central Ohio. The J.W. & M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation has pledged support to upgrade the clinical training areas and overall nursing corridor space to meet the increased demand for nurses throughout Muskingum County.

“This gift will have an immediate impact on the nursing program and will aid in increasing our capacity by 15 percent within two years,” said Hannah Nissen, OHIO Zanesville dean of campus and community relations. “We are delighted by this significant educational investment in OHIO Zanesville by the Straker Foundation.”

Over the next 13 months, enhancements to the current nursing space at OHIO Zanesville will include practice labs, simulation spaces, training technology, faculty research capabilities, and space for peer collaboration and mentoring.

“This is the largest charitable donation ever made to Ohio University Zanesville,” said Nico Karagosian, president and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation. “We are deeply grateful to the Straker Foundation for this investment in community health in our region.”

The renovation, addressing more than 5,460 square feet in the nursing program area, will allow more students to participate in simulation experiences, and a practice lab will let students observe demonstrations by faculty and peers. The entire corridor will be devoted to nursing, with ready access to equipment by students and faculty that will allow for more seamless learning experiences.

Muskingum County has been identified by the Health Research and Services Administration Rural Health Information Hub as a “healthcare shortage” area. The county has also faced unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, attrition in nursing staff, and the widening rural health practitioner gap.

“These types of transformational gifts are important to both the University and the Muskingum County community,” said Susan Holdren, president and CEO of the Straker Foundation. “We are helping to create a legacy of education that addresses both current needs and benefits Muskingum County long into the future.”

In recognition of this exceptional gift, the newly renovated space at OHIO Zanesville will be called the J.W. & M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation Nursing Wing.

“I earned my master’s degree at Ohio University; I value having quality graduate and undergraduate programs in our community. It’s important, too, to the Straker Foundation trustees, who approved this gift to Ohio University Zanesville,” Holdren said.

The Straker Foundation has a long history of supporting OHIO Zanesville. Since making its first gift in 2005, the Straker Foundation has supported scholarships, student emergency funds, and other student support projects. Previous gifts to OHIO Zanesville have amounted to over $100,000.

July 17, 2023
Staff reports