$2.3 M Pledge will Establish Endowed Chair in Nursing

Regina Cusson, dean of nursing, left, Robin Froman, President Susan Herbst, and Provost Mun Choi at the President's office on Aug. 22, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Regina Cusson, dean of nursing, left, Robin Froman, President Susan Herbst, and Provost Mun Choi at the President’s office, after the gift was announced at the School of Nursing on Aug. 22. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn’s School of Nursing has received a pledge of $ 2.3 million from Robin Froman and Steven Owen to establish its first endowed faculty chair. The pledge will also support a professorship and research at the School.

The gift, which is the largest to date for the School, is a strong expression of support and affection for UConn and its nursing and education programs from the couple, who have a long affiliation with UConn.

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Steve Owen and Robin Froman both have longstanding ties with the University. (Photo courtesy of Robin Froman)

Froman is a multiple UConn alumna: she completed bachelor’s (’74), master’s (’75), and doctoral (’81) degrees in education from what is now known as the Neag School of Education, before discovering her affinity for nursing and completing her bachelor’s (’84) and master’s (’87) degrees in the School of Nursing. She later served as a faculty member, a department chair, and interim associate dean of the School. In 1991, Froman established UConn’s Center for Nursing Research, and she served as its first director.

After nearly 30 years at UConn, Froman was recruited to be associate dean for research at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where she established a Nursing Research Center that helped move the School into the nation’s top 40. She later served as dean at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and also held an endowed chair of nursing in the University of Texas system.

Owen is emeritus professor of educational psychology in the Neag School of Education, where he taught and conducted research for nearly 30 years. He later served as a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and as professor and statistical scientist in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Robin Froman, left, and Regina Cusson, dean of nursing, outside the School of Nursing on Aug. 22, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Robin Froman, left, and Regina Cusson, dean of nursing, outside the School of Nursing. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Regina Cusson, dean of the School of Nursing and a long-time colleague of Froman’s, says, “This extraordinarily generous gift will support generations of UConn nursing leaders. Through their long careers in education, Robin and Steve know firsthand the value of an endowed chair in attracting excellent faculty and enhancing our culture of scholarship.”

Adds UConn President Susan Herbst, “We are incredibly grateful for this generous pledge by Robin Froman and Steven Owen, which will provide a lasting source of financial support for the teaching, research, and public service activities in the School of Nursing.”

Herbst has made increasing UConn’s endowment a high priority. “Endowment support is an investment in UConn’s long-term excellence,” she says, “and ensures our ability to sustain and protect UConn’s academic mission.”

Froman says she and Owen believe the endowed chair will strengthen the School of Nursing and help it address the nation’s shortage of nurses over the long term.

“Endowed support for faculty not only recognizes excellence, it provides dependable resources so the chair holder can plan and develop long-range teaching and research activities,” she says. “Greater support for faculty recruitment and retention is an essential element of addressing the nursing shortage. Too many applicants are turned away from nursing schools because of a lack of qualified faculty to teach them.”