Barbara and Donald Jonas, founders of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, awarded honorary doctorate
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) hosted its 2017 commencement ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Hyden, Ky. Over the past year, more than 600 nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners from almost every state across the nation have completed an FNU distance-education program. The commencement ceremony was attended by more than 160 graduates and 1,200 of their family members and friends. The ceremony also included a special video presentation of the awarding of an honorary doctorate degree to philanthropists Barbara and Donald Jonas who founded the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence.
FNU President Dr. Susan Stone presided over the commencement ceremony and degrees were conferred on graduates of Frontier’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. MSN graduates completed the Nurse-Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner or Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks. FNU also bestowed awards on several faculty members and students including leadership and student choice awards.*
Dr. Jennifer Hatcher, director of diversity and inclusivity and associate professor for the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Hatcher holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing as a family nurse practitioner, a Master’s in Public Health and a PhD in Nursing. She is the founder and director of the DREAM Center, a multidisciplinary research center focused on promoting positive health outcomes for underrepresented minorities by promoting workforce diversity, health equities research and training the next generation of health equities scholars. Dr. Hatcher has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade to conduct health disparities research focused on improving health outcomes for underrepresented minorities.
In honor of their extensive support and contributions to the advancement of nursing, FNU awarded Barbara and Donald Jonas with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Mr. and Mrs. Jonas established the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, a first-of-its-kind philanthropic program dedicated to advancing nursing. The focus is on establishing grants based on partnerships between schools of nursing and clinical practice settings as well as convening opinion leaders to develop solutions to long-standing problems challenging the nursing profession.
The Jonas Center has supported more than 1,000 Jonas Scholars and is the nation’s leading philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education. The Jonas Scholars program has had a significant impact on Frontier Nursing University students. Two members of the 2012-2014 cohort received $30,000 in scholarship support, four members of the 2014-16 cohort of students received $50,000 in scholarship support, and four more students in the 2016-18 cohort are receiving $70,000 in scholarship awards. That’s a total of $150,000 impacting ten FNU students.
*This Year’s Award Winners:
- The Kitty Ernst Leadership Award – Lana Bernat, DNP, CNM, CPHQ
- The Nurse Practitioner Leadership Award – Nicole Serrano, MSN, FNP
- Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching: Academic – Dr. Jana Esden
- Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching: RCF – Dr. Mary Jones and Dr. April Dobroth