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Averett Gets Donation, Officials Hope to Start Nursing Program

October 12, 2011 Ch. 13
Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum

Danville, VA - Tobacco Commission gave Averett University $300,000, and university officials say they want to use it to start a nursing program.

"We needed to raise $2.5 million to get this initiative off the ground, and with this $300,000 grant, we are at $2.1 million," said Buddy Rawley, vice president for Institutional Advancement.

But this particular contribution from the Virginia Tobacco Commission has deeper significance.

"This is our first ever grant at Averett from the Virginia Tobacco Commission," said Rawley.

"It fits very nicely with our regional scholarship programs so residents of the region can use our scholarship money to attend Averett to advance their careers in healthcare," said Tim Pfohl, director of Grant Programs for Tobacco Commission.

Averett officials established a partnership with the Danville Regional Medical Center to institute a nursing program, anticipating enrollment by summer.

"We will have a building downtown in our Riverview Campus on Bridge Street, which ironically was an old tobacco boardroom," said Rawley.

With these new funds, Averett plans on purchasing a top-of-the-line simulation system.

"Helps the students practice without the fear of hurting somebody," said Dr. Mary Condon, associate professor of nursing at Averett.

The Tobacco Commission hopes their grant will run further than the University.

"We are hopeful that over time this will produce a significant number of nursing graduates that will have opportunities for employment right in Danville," said Pfohl.

The Commission also donated to several other colleges and universities, including Danville Community College, which received $380,000 for scholarships and training.