Leonard and Evelyn Lauder
Dear Commons Community,
It was announced yesterday that Leonard Lauder, the chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies, is giving $52 million to Hunter College’s School of Nursing in honor of his late wife, Evelyn, a Hunter alumna.
Hunter will use the money to expand its 1,200-student nursing school at a time when a national nursing shortage has been compounded by the pandemic. Jennifer Raab, Hunter’s president, said it was the largest single donation ever made to a school that is part of the City University of New York. As reported by The New York Times.
The plan is to enhance Hunter’s existing graduate-level program for nurse practitioners, who are registered nurses with advanced training that allows them to do many of the things doctors do. They are becoming the health care provider of choice for millions of people, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, with the experience and authority to order diagnostic tests, treat chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure and write prescriptions.
Lauder’s money will also cover a new community care nurse practitioner program named for Evelyn Lauder that will provide $30,000 stipends for 25 students a year. In return, they will commit to work in neighborhoods in the city where medical care is lagging.
“This is going to provide higher-quality care for people who would not otherwise have access to it,” Raab said.
Raab said the stipends did not have to be spent on tuition, which could let recipients take time off from their jobs and finish their training sooner than if they were working and going to school at the same time.
Hunter is setting up an employment pipeline with the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. “If you’re Columbia or N.Y.U.,” Raab said, “you have a hospital system to place your nursing students in. It’s a challenge for a public school like Hunter without its own hospital system.” The Health and Hospitals system is a natural fit, she said: “Given the diversity of our nursing students, having them committed to serving HHC will assure better health outcomes and better health equity for the city.”
Lauder’s $52 million will also cover a new clinical learning lab with diagnostic equipment that nurse practitioners need to be familiar with, and it will pay for two new administrative positions and two endowed professorships in the nursing school.
Raab said it was appropriate to name the new program for Evelyn Lauder, who graduated from Hunter College High School in 1954 and Hunter College four years later. Raab said she had “lived the Hunter motto, mihi cura futuri — the care of the future is mine.”
Thank you, Mr. Lauder and congratulations to President Raab for her leadership in securing this gift!