UAFS gifted $18.7 million to expand nursing and visual art programs
Announced Friday, The Windgate Foundation, a private, family foundation based in Little Rock, awarded the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith with a donation of $18.7 million, becoming the largest single donation in UAFS history. The funds will be used to expand the Nursing program and the Windgate Art and Design facility.
The foundation aspires to strengthen visual art education in the United States. Since its founding in 1993, the Windgate Foundation has given more than $751 million in grants to various museums, Universities, and art-related organizations. Some of the foundation's largest grant recipients include the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, and Arkansas State University.
“This represents a great opportunity for future students,” Senior Graphic Design student Parry Phanouvong tells the Lions’ Chronicle. “By the time they enroll, there will be a lot more programs available and they’re going to learn more than current students. It’s a pretty good thing for the University.”
Though the foundation typically gives grants related to visual or contemporary art, $9.9 million of the grant will be dedicated towards the continual expansion of the Nursing program. This continues a trend for the foundation, as earlier this year, they granted the University of Arkansas at Monticello a multi-year grant of $205,415 to be put towards need-based scholarships and nursing lab upgrades, and instructors. Furthermore, Arkansas Children's Hospital received $2.25 million from the Windgate Foundation to support nursing recruitment.
According to the University’s press release, the grant will allow the university to immediately hire 27 additional nursing faculty and expand the nursing labs.
“With this gift, UAFS will not only stay on the cutting edge of healthcare through our remarkable equipment and facilities but will lead the industry as we recruit some of the brightest minds in healthcare and clinical instruction” Chancellor Riley stated.
Students likely can expect to see the effects of the gift take place immediately, but they will extend far beyond. In 2023, a physical expansion of the Windgate building will begin, as well as a broadening of existing courses like book arts, 3D design, art history, and more.