Northwestern Names Division of Nursing, New Doctoral Program

March 25, 2019

Officials at Northwestern Oklahoma State University today announced the naming of the Division of Nursing and its doctoral program in nursing practice (DNP).

The Charles Morton Share Trust Division of Nursing and the Wisdom Family Foundation Doctoral Program in Rural Nursing Practice will honor the contributions of the two area philanthropic entities.

“Today marks the first time in Northwestern history that an academic department and program have been named, and it is reflective of the extraordinary support provided by the Charles Morton Share Trust and the Wisdom Family Foundation,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said.

Both groups provided leadership gifts creating 20 endowed faculty chair positions used to support faculty positions and operational needs in nursing.

Northwestern began work to create a doctoral program in nursing practice in 2014, securing final approval from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in January 2016.

The Share Trust was the first entity to back the program, providing significant momentum.

“In discussions leading up to the approval of the program, the State Regents noted that having funding in place was an important factor in their decision,” Cunningham said. “I am convinced that without the support of the Share Trust, program approval would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.”

The Share Trust has been a longtime supporter of Northwestern students. The organization also has established an endowed chair in education and provided leadership gifts for several building projects, including the J.R. Holder Wellness Center, and the renovation of Ranger Field, including the construction of the Dean Linder Press Box and the football complex.

The Wisdom Family Foundation followed with an equal gift to the nursing program, allowing Northwestern to enroll its first class into the DNP program in the fall of 2017.

“The support of the Wisdom Family Foundation solidified the DNP program and allowed us to establish a program that rivals any in the country,” Cunningham said.

In addition to its support of the Division of Nursing, the Wisdom Family Foundation previously provided major support for the establishment of the baccalaureate program in agriculture education, including scholarships and the construction of the Wisdom Agriculture Education Center. The Foundation also has supported two endowed chairs in visual arts, allowing Northwestern to offer a minor in that area.

The first class of graduates from the DNP program is expected in spring of 2020.


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