News Releases

Doctors' group donates $10,000 to Lander University to endow nursing scholarship and assist crisis fund

July 19, 2007
Over the past 50 years, Lander University has graduated more than 1,000 nurses from its nursing program, and a group of Lakelands area medical doctors recently made a commitment to ensure the program remains successful in the years to come. 
In honor of the Lander University Department of Nursing's 50th anniversary, United Physicians Care, a voluntary organization of 215 practicing physicians in Greenwood, Abbeville, Laurens and surrounding counties, presented Lander officials with a $10,000 check, which will be used to endow the "50th Year Nursing Scholarship" as well as assist nursing students facing crises.  
Dr. R. Phillip Baker, longtime president with United Physicians Care and founder of Piedmont Physicians for Women in Greenwood, said the group voted to distribute the funds as a way to encourage nursing education and to support medical charities. 
"There is no question that helping educate motivated, high-quality nurses is critical to keeping the Lakelands area on the cutting edge of good medicine," said Baker, who has been providing OB-GYN services to Lakelands residents since 1982. "We must continue to produce nurses to meet a severe nationwide shortage, and this money should help to that end."

Eleanor Teal, vice president for University Advancement and executive director for The Lander Foundation, said, "Providing these funds is a tremendous show of support for Lander and its nursing graduates and students. It is also a show of support for the entire Lakelands community since many of our graduates care for the residents of Greenwood and the surrounding counties. We are very thankful for the physicians' generosity."

Founded in 1995, the United Physicians Group focuses on helping medical practices in the area encourage the development of quality medical initiatives. The group's members represent all medical specialties available in the Lakelands area.
Dr. Barbara Freese, a professor of public health nursing at Lander, said the donation is a tribute to "every nurse who has gradated from Lander's program in its first 50 years." 

Freese said nursing is an expensive major, with additional expenditures for testing fees, equipment, uniforms, and shoes, which causes financial stress for some students. The crisis funds serve as a loan, which the student pays back upon graduation. 
"We use the nursing crisis fund when a student encounters a financial crisis that makes it impossible for them to continue in the nursing program without special assistance," Freese said. "The nursing crisis fund is an important resource, and those funds can often make the difference between a student staying in the program or leaving because of a financial burden."