$5M gift to expand nursing school’s simulation lab

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing has received a $5 million donation from M. Christine Schwartz to expand upon an existing simulation laboratory that bears her name.

M. Christine Schwartz and Terri Weaver

M. Christine Schwartz, left, and UIC College of Nursing Dean Terri Weaver.

The new center will be “one of the largest and best-equipped simulation training centers among nursing colleges in the United States,” said Dean Terri Weaver. All UIC nursing campuses across Illinois — Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Quad Cities, Springfield, Urbana — will benefit from the latest technology incorporated in the expansion.

More than a year was spent designing the new 15,000-square-foot teaching facility. It includes examination rooms that replicate real-world circumstances in a safe environment. The space will also include four standardized patient rooms, each with a faculty supervised control room to oversee nursing scenarios and simulate visits with the patient. Other highlights include a home-care setting, a birthing center and, Schwartz insisted, a dedicated lounge for students.

Since the original simulation laboratory opened two years ago, “it has been a game-changer in the hands-on training of our nursing students,” Weaver said. “The expanded simulation center will increase our capacity to recruit and teach more nursing students. This is an opportunity to provide our faculty and students with a larger innovative space to simulate and practice more situations and scenarios of care, better preparing our graduates for actual health care challenges.

“We are extremely appreciative of Chris’ gift.”

“UIC has one of the top nursing schools in the nation, and in order for it to remain so, its technology and educational methods need to be continuously evolving,” said Chancellor Michael Amiridis. “With Chris’ gift, our nursing students will have a competitive advantage when entering the health care field due to the training they will receive in the new simulation laboratory.”

The donation is one of the largest in the history of the college, and makes Schwartz, who is an alumna, the largest lifetime donor at the nursing school. It exemplifies her passion to better humankind. The donation is also one of the largest ever at UIC.

“I hope this gift inspires more alumni to contribute to the schools that laid the foundation for their accomplishments,” Schwartz said.

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