$5M Gift from Wegman Family Charitable Foundation Supports Nursing Education at Wegmans School of Nursing

February 26, 2024

The Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher University received a $5 million gift from the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation to advance nursing education and expand the pipeline of health care professionals in the Rochester region.

Wegmans School of Nursing

The gift will fund educational and experiential programs that provide Fisher students with the practical skills needed to succeed in nursing. It will also support the endowment and the expansion of experiential learning spaces within the Wegmans School of Nursing. The gift was made as a part of the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Fisher Forward.

“At Wegmans, we believe education creates opportunity,” said Colleen Wegman, president and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets. “We’re proud to partner with St. John Fisher University and the School of Nursing to help prepare the next generation of nurses and health care aides to build and strengthen the health care landscape in our communities.”

The Wegman family have been benefactors of the University for more than 60 years. The late Robert B. Wegman joined the Board of Trustees in the 1960s, and over the years, his philanthropic efforts helped transform the campus as well as academic and co-curricular aspects of the Fisher student experience. In 2005, a $5 million gift led to the creation of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and a year later, an $8 million gift—which remains the largest in Fisher history—established the Wegmans School of Nursing. Both gifts enabled the University to build facilities to house the Schools, which boast state-of-the-art laboratories and experiential learning spaces. 

“The Wegman family changed the trajectory of the University through philanthropy—enabling us to provide a best-in-class, evidence-based nursing and pharmacy education to our students. We remain grateful to Bob Wegman and the entire Wegman family for their ongoing support of Fisher,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the University. “This gift reflects Danny and Colleen’s commitment to making an impact on issues in health care, specifically by ensuring the availability of top talent in the metro Rochester area. We are appreciative to the family for their belief in our ability to provide transformational educational experiences for our students, many of whom go on to pursue health care careers in our community.”

Today, Fisher prepares the largest number of nurses in the region via its traditional baccalaureate degree program and a large percentage of advanced practice nurse practitioners into the regional and state-wide health care workforce. The School offers five Master of Science in Nursing degrees including Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner; and Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist; as well as a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. In fall 2021, the School welcomed the first cohort of students into a fully-online pathway for its master’s offerings. The School is also home to the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, which aims to transform the quality of care and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) regionally, nationally, and internationally by training nursing professionals in field-specific skills and knowledge.

In fall 2023, the School began to pilot immersive 3D learning within its nursing curriculum, which is designed to enhance student understanding of the social determinants of health for vulnerable populations. The new technology is used in redesigned classrooms that features modular, flexible furniture and virtual reality and augmented reality technology to create interactive learning experiences for students. Through this gift, the School will continue to innovate its curriculum to meet the rapidly changing health care needs of the community.

“We are grateful to the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation for supporting our efforts to offer cutting-edge nursing and health care education to our students,” said Dr. Tricia Gatlin, dean of the School of Nursing. “In the community, the ‘Fisher Nurse’ is synonymous with nursing excellence, and we are committed to maintaining our reputation for educating graduates who are fully prepared to deliver the highest quality care to their patients.”