Former St. Cloud State student Jim Maciej and his wife Ann Marie Maciej gifted the university’s Department of Nursing Science in Brown Hall $1 Million to help renovate the program. By the Maciejs handing this gift to the nursing program, they are hoping it will be a wake up call to other St. Cloud State alumni to donate to the university.
“People have to step up to the plate and we hope that this gift will have other people consider giving towards some sort of program here,” St. Cloud Alumnus Jim Maciej said.
Jim Maciej is a graduate of St. Cloud State from 1973 and his wife Ann Marie Maciej is a retired nurse and they both wanted to give back to the nursing program simply because they care about education for students and helping those in need.
“In a way it really isn’t about us, it’s about the current nursing students who are in the program now and those that will be trained for future generations,” Jim Maciej said.
When it comes to money, it is something that not everyone can find so easily and it is usually a problem many universities face in order to stay competitive with other schools. With this observation of a lack of money at St. Cloud State and some of its programs, the Maciejs decided to take action and wanted to put their dollars to work.
“I think when it comes to nursing, it is very expensive to train a nurse and as a result, you’re looking at cost,” Jim Maciej said.
Of the many programs at St. Cloud State University, the nursing program is one of many that does face a lot of expensive hiccups. The Department of Nursing Science was in need of many new amenities and what they had up until the gift was brought to the association was mostly outdated equipment that didn’t benefit the students as much as the new technology will.
“With that money, we have been able to update some of our audio visual equipment so we now are able to run hi-fidelity simulation with high definition audio and visual,” department of nursing chair Dr. Jane Bagley said.
One of the pieces of equipment that was much outdated was a baby simulator machine that was previously connected to a large power source. With the help of the grant however, the nursing department was able to purchase a new baby simulator that looks and acts like a human baby and is able to produce emotions to help make the students’ learning experience more real life without injuring anyone.
“We thank Jim and Ann Marie for their gift because this really is a gift that will benefit our students today and certainly for decades to come,” Bagley said. “Our nursing students will be able to take full advantage of the gift.”
The idea about the gift came about a year and a half ago as a way to celebrate the school’s sesquicentennial anniversary and it was a decision that will continue to help students and will be the gift that keeps on giving.
“The gift was worth it, just to see the smiles on people’s faces. Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy,” Ann Marie Maciej said.
To celebrate this present that the Maciejs gifted to the nursing program, the Department of Nursing Science decided to have a gathering with staff, students and faculty along with friends and family. At the celebration, the department dedicated the nurse and science lab to the Maciejs along with a pair of nurse lab coats and a commemorative pin for Ann Marie.
“The ceremony was amazing to see so many people from Jim and Ann Marie’s family, their colleagues, their friends… [and] we had a group of students there,” Dean of Health and Human Services Shonda Craft said. “To just see their excitement and to know that someone was so invested in their education and see so much potential for them, that’s really exciting for me as a dean.”
Although the celebration day was filled with joy, and the gift was a humbling gesture by the Maciejs, Jim Maciej said that now is the time to put that donated money to use and start getting down to business.
“Now the work starts,” Jim Maciej said. “Not necessarily for us, but work will continue for the nursing staff, with the nursing faculty, with the nursing leadership.”
For more information including a video report, be sure to visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncL9707Y5WE&t=2s