Indiana University South Bend has received the largest single philanthropic donation in its history. A $5.85 million gift from the Vera Z. Dwyer Charitable Trust has been given in support of the College of Health Sciences at IU South Bend. In recognition of the gift, the College of Health Sciences at IU South Bend has been named the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences. The purpose of this philanthropic investment in IU South Bend by the Dwyer Trust is to permanently strengthen the quality of healthcare education in the region and help fill the demand for more qualified healthcare professionals at area hospitals and medical facilities.
The gift includes $2.5 million to be used to increase the endowment of the Vera Z. Dwyer Scholarship in Healthcare; $1.5 million to create and endow the Dwyer Distinguished Chair in Advanced Nursing Practice; $1 million in a guaranteed matching pledge for the Health and Wellness Center at IU South Bend to expand low-cost healthcare services to the community; and $850,000 to be used to begin implementation of these initiatives. When combined with the earlier gift of $1 million that established the Dwyer Scholarship in Healthcare, the combined gift reaches a total of $6.85 million. If the matching pledge is realized, the total results of the gift would be $7.85 million.
“IU South Bend is thrilled to receive this gift. We will honor the vision of Vera Dwyer by providing excellence in healthcare education for years to come,” said Chancellor Terry L. Allison. “Our students need financial support. Scholarships like this make the difference in whether or not a student is able to stay in school and earn a college degree. The lives of many of our students will be changed because of this.”
“This act of generosity will allow IU South Bend to attract and support outstanding students and faculty in healthcare to our campus,” said Mario Ortiz, dean of the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences. “Graduates will be in high demand and residents will benefit from better healthcare.”
Vera Dwyer was married to James G. Dwyer who founded Dwyer Instruments with his brother F.W Dwyer in Chicago in 1931. His brother invented the company’s first product – a fluid-filled inclined manometer that was used as a draft gauge in furnaces and boilers. The company moved to Michigan City in 1955 and its corporate headquarters is still there today. Dwyer Instruments continues to be a leading manufacturer in the controls and instrumentation industry.
In recognition of the local connection, a minimum of 20 percent of the total funds of the Vera Z. Dwyer Scholarship in Healthcare are reserved for students from La Porte County. Vera Dwyer died in 2010 at the age of 89. Her husband passed away in 1995. The Vera Z. Dwyer Charitable Trust is managed by Indiana Trust and Investment Management Company of Mishawaka.
“Vera Dwyer believed in higher education and wanted to provide more opportunities for students to go to college. She also wanted to make sure there was quality healthcare in the area,” said David Kibbe, vice president and trust officer at Indiana Trust. “Our confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Allison and Dean Ortiz at IU South Bend made this gift a perfect match.”
The naming was approved by the Indiana University Board of Trustees on December 5. Charitable gifts to Indiana University are held and managed by the IU Foundation in Bloomington, Indiana.
The endowed Vera Z. Dwyer Scholarship in Healthcare will generate funding to provide scholarships that will attract and support highly qualified students interested in the health sciences, especially low income, under-represented and first generation students. The gift is expected to support approximately 60 students with financial need annually.
The endowed Vera Z. Dwyer Distinguished Chair in Advanced Nursing Practice will bring an expert in the field to the School of Nursing program at IU South Bend as a faculty member. This position will elevate teaching, learning and community service in healthcare at IU South Bend and will position graduates to be at the forefront of innovation in the nursing profession.
The Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences at IU South Bend includes the School of Nursing, the Dental Education/Dental Hygiene program, the Radiography program, and operation of the Health and Wellness Center on campus. More healthcare degree programs are planned as part of the Academic Master Plan at IU South Bend.