A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Paying It Forward

By Corey Jenkins Schaut, MPA '07 on May 12, 2015


Bette Burch, BSN ’80, has been a compassionate nurse, dedicated clinical instructor and philanthropist. Through it all, Burch has been thrilled to see students succeed in the profession she loves. Her latest gift—$100,000 to George Mason University’s new home for the College of Health and Human Services—ensures future nurses will learn their trade in a world-class research and instructional facility.

This is the first major gift to the university for the building currently known as Academic VII. The facility is expected to open in fall 2017. While the Commonwealth of Virginia has provided financial support for construction, George Mason is currently raising $9 million to complete the project.

Bette Burch, BSN ’80, poses with Bette Burch Endowed Scholarship recipient August Paredes-Ubillus, BSN ’11, at a scholarship donor reception in 2010. Photo by Laura Sikes.

Bette Burch, BSN ’80, poses with Bette Burch Endowed Scholarship recipient August Paredes-Ubillus, BSN ’11, at a scholarship donor reception in 2010. Photo by Laura Sikes.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous gift from our alumna and former faculty,” says Thomas Prohaska, dean of the college. “Bette’s leadership gift will leave a lasting legacy for so many future generations of students.”

In addition to being an alumna, Burch served as an adjunct faculty member for the School of Nursing in the 1990s. She noticed the financial struggles some of her students had with paying tuition or buying course books and supplies, which led to her creating the Bette Burch Nursing Endowed Scholarship. The award has helped numerous students complete their Mason degree.

Burch sees her most recent gift to support the college’s facilities as a continuation of the effort to ensure great nursing education. It’s also a call to her fellow alumni and faculty members. She hopes her commitment will inspire others to support the college.

“[A gift] doesn’t have to be big,” she says. “Even if everybody gave $100, with the number of people who have graduated from Mason, it would be a huge amount when you put it all together. I don’t think people realize that you could do a small amount and still be part of something larger.”

In recognition for Burch’s gift, a nursing conference room in Academic VII will be named in her honor.

To learn more about supporting the college, contact Dayna Kuhar at dkuhar@gmu.edu or 703-993-8640.


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