Above: Carole and Ray Neag establish the Neag Nursing Scholarship program at Alvernia University
A new nursing scholarship program has been established at Alvernia University, made possible by a $2.25 million gift from Carole and Ray Neag. The first Neag Nursing Scholarships will be awarded Feb. 20, during a luncheon for the incoming Class of 2020.
The Neag Nursing Scholarship Program will provide multiple scholarships each year to students enrolling in Alvernia’s popular nursing degree program.
Carole and Ray Neag are among Alvernia’s most generous benefactors, with a long history of philanthropic support of the university. Carole is a former emergency and maternity nurse who also worked to implement injury-prevention standards. She previously served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, and is a trustee emerita.
Ray is the retired co-founder, vice chairman and director of Arrow International, now Teleflex Medical, an innovator in the use of catheterization for diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases.
Healthcare and higher education have been areas of particular focus for the Neag’s philanthropic support both at Alvernia and in the larger community. “Their gift today brings together the Neags’ two areas of special interest and, at the same time, honors Carole’s passion for the nursing profession,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn.
“This is an important gift for Alvernia and it comes at a time when the university is experiencing extraordinary progress in developing its academic programs,” said Flynn. “The nursing program, truly one of the university’s flagships, attracts interest from students across the Mid-Atlantic region.”
“Ray and I share a strong interest in nursing,” said Carole Neag. “By investing in the next generation of nurses to help them obtain outstanding training from a values-based university like Alvernia, we can make a positive difference in the lives of so many others in the future.”
Of the multiple scholarships awarded each year, one will be presented annually to a top Reading Collegiate Scholar who is interested in entering Alvernia’s nursing program, establishing both the first endowed Reading Collegiate Scholarships and the first ones to be aligned with a specific discipline. Launched in 2013, Alvernia’s Reading Collegiate Scholars Program (RCSP) is geared to prepare larger numbers of high school students from Reading to attend and succeed at the college of their choice.
“We remain humbled by the Neag’s continued confidence in the value of an Alvernia education. Truly they understand and support our determination as a distinctive Franciscan university to develop ethical leaders with moral courage and graduates that leave our campus prepared to do well and do good,” said Flynn.
The Neags have a legacy of generously supporting Alvernia. In 2011, the Neag Professorships were established to recognize new or emerging faculty scholars who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship and distinction in teaching. The endowed professorships are part of a comprehensive effort to expand support for the faculty’s teaching excellence as well as scholarly and creative achievement.
Previously, the Neags supported creation of Alvernia’s Student Center and established a scholarship to support undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Franciscan education at Alvernia. Importantly, their support helped establish the Neag Nursing Faculty Development Fund, which has made a significant impact on enhancing the nursing curriculum, teaching pedagogies, evaluation methods and faculty scholarship.
In recognition of their outstanding support of the institution and their broader civic leadership, Alvernia honored the couple with the university’s highest honor, its Franciscan Award, in 2002. Just last fall, Alvernia acknowledged the Neag’s philanthropy by inducting them into its Bernardine Giving Society. They are one of only five individuals/organizations to be recognized in that society, a distinction reserved for the school’s most generous benefactors.
“The Neag’s philanthropy at Alvernia has been as visionary as it has been generous,” said Flynn. “Early on they made a special commitment to enhancing academic excellence at the university through very targeted support of faculty and student initiatives. Their impact has been transformational.”
In addition, the Neags have been exceptional friends and benefactors to the university’s nursing program, according to Karen Thacker, dean of professional programs and associate professor of nursing at Alvernia. “Their most recent gift will make a tremendous difference in patient care by helping the next generation of nurses obtain a bachelor’s degree from a values-based institution like Alvernia,” said Thacker. “Their support of our students and faculty, and how we shape caring and compassionate nursing graduates, is so impressive and directly links to quality outcomes in healthcare.”
The Neag’s recent gift is providing critical support for the institution’s growth in the broader healthcare science field, which will soon be realized on an even greater scale with creation of a planned state-of-the-art recreation, wellness, and health sciences complex, called the Plex. The Plex will support high-demand health science programs that require additional flexible, general-use classrooms and additional specialized and integrated spaces to support the growth of sports medicine, athletic training and physical therapy programs. It will also enable new opportunities for inter-professional teaching that integrates real-world training for students in programs like occupational therapy, nursing and social work.
Students, faculty and staff packed the Bonaventure Room to hear about the Neag Scholarships.