Ashland University Receives $5 Million Challenge Gift

7/7/10 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University announced Tuesday that it has received a $5 million naming challenge gift for a new academic building for its College of Nursing.

Ashland University President Dr. Frederick Finks said the $12 million campaign for the College of Nursing, which will be located in Mansfield, received a jump start through this $5 million challenge gift from Ashland University alumnus and longtime supporter Dwight Schar. The gift will match dollar for dollar other gifts to the campaign.

Schar, a 1964 graduate of Ashland, is chairman of NVR Inc., the seventh largest home builder in the U.S. and a homebuilding and mortgage banking conglomeration with homes built under the names Ryan Homes, NVHomes, Rymarc Homes and Fox Ridge Homes. NVR homebuilding operations serve 18 metropolitan areas in 11 states, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Finks said the Schar gift has allowed the university to go public with the campaign a lot sooner than expected. "As you can imagine, receiving a lead challenge gift of $5 million ... has allowed us to come out of the blocks racing," Finks said.

The announcement came at Tuesday's official merger signing at MedCentral College of Nursing's Glessner Avenue academic building in Mansfield. Ashland University president Frederick Finks and James Meyer, MedCentral Health Systems president and CEO, signed the agreement, which follows approval of the merger between Ashland University and MedCentral College of Nursing by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The $12 million campaign - "Compassion, Community, Commitment ... Building a Healthy Tomorrow" -- will build a 50,000-square-foot academic building for the new Dwight Schar College of Nursing on the school's Balgreen Campus at Trimble Road and Marion Avenue in Mansfield.

Margaret Pomfret, the University's new executive director of development and campaigns, said Schar offered the challenge gift to show his support for both Ashland and Richland counties and to encourage others to invest in the program's future.

Pomfret noted that in making this gift, Schar commented that "he supports Ashland University because they are committed to accent on the individual and because they are dedicated to educate teachers and nurses who will give back to their communities for the next 40 years....what could be a better investment?"

Finks said the university is in the process of selecting architects to design the building. Per the agreement the two parties signed Tuesday, and until the new building is constructed, Ashland University will lease the program's current academic building as well as its two residence halls located on the Balgreen Campus.

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.