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Connelly Foundation Awards $250,000 to Widener

The Widener University School of Nursing will not only have a new building to call home this fall; it has also received $250,000 from the Connelly Foundation for its growing clinical simulation labs to further strengthen its reputation for hands-on learning, the university announced Friday.

Deborah Garrison, dean of the Widener School of Nursing, said the grant from the Connelly Foundation will be used to purchase a high-tech mannequin that simulates the symptoms, aches, pains and diseases of a hospital patient, and a web-based audio-visual management system for use with the simulators.

“This generous grant from the Connelly Foundation will have a direct impact on student learning,” Garrison said. “These clinical simulation labs give students the opportunity to strengthen their critical thinking, team work and decision-making skills and give them a distinct advantage when they enter clinical settings with real patients.”  

This fall, the university will celebrate the opening of a new academic building which will house the School of Nursing and the Oskin Leadership Institute. It will feature a variety of laboratories to simulate real-world nursing experiences including a hospital simulation lab, an intensive care unit-trauma lab, a pediatrics suite, an obstetrics suite, and even an apartment lab to simulate a home care situation, according to Garrison.

“Our trustees were impressed by the remarkable group of leaders at Widener, and admired the important role the university has assumed in Chester which provides hope and opportunity for many young people to improve their lives,” said Josephine C. Mandeville, president of the Connelly Foundation.

The Connelly Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pa., seeks to foster learning and to improve the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia area. The foundation supports local non-profit organizations in the fields of education, health and human services, arts and culture and civic enterprise. For more information on the Connelly Foundation, visit

In November 2010, Widener launched “Taking the Lead – The Campaign for Widener,” a $58 million, seven-year fundraising initiative to strengthen the university’s growing national reputation as a premier institution for leadership education, civic engagement, global awareness and academic excellence.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website,