At Adelphi University, a $4.7 million gift is paving the way for the future.
The estate of nursing alumna Betty Forest, class of 1947, created the gift for nursing scholarships and a an innovation fund at the university. A bequest from Forest, who died in August of 2019, added to her previous gift to support students and healthcare innovation.
“For her entire life, Betty Forest never wavered in her dedication to nursing or Adelphi’s nursing program and its students,” President Christine Riordan said in a statement. “I am so grateful that she shared her distinguished career and remarkable generosity with our University.”
Riordan said that “it does not surprise me that one of the university’s largest gifts ever should come from Dr. Forest – she was devoted to ensuring that nurses can study, train, innovate and lead in the field and at the University, which she loved.”
The total planned gift includes $500,000 added to the Dr. Betty L. Forest Nursing Scholarship Fund, $500,000 for the Harold and Loretta Forest Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund (named to honor her parents), and $3.7 million to support an innovation fund and endow a deanship, the Dr. Betty L. Forest Dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health.
Forest retired as the founding director of the nursing program at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1990. In 1965, when associate degree nursing education was growing tremendously across the United States, Forest founded the program with 35 students. Today it has a national reputation for excellence and 13,000 students in its degree and certification programs.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Adelphi in 1947, Dr. Forest was a practicing nurse for 10 years at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She then went on to earn a master’s degree and her doctorate in nursing education from Teachers College, Columbia University-and received an honorary degree from Adelphi in 2010.
“I’ve chosen to include the University in my estate plans because I feel strongly about nursing education, and I feel strongly about Adelphi as an institution,” Forest said when she established the planned gift and endowments. “I just want to know that I can be of some help to what I think is just a wonderful university.”
Forest was able to attend Adelphi with the help of a cadet nursing scholarship, which may well have led to her establish the two nursing scholarship programs for the College of Nursing and Public Health.
“Betty Forest was a pioneer in nursing education, and those of us in the field owe her a great debt,” said Elaine Smith, class of 1978, who was named dean of the College in March 2019. “I’m honored to be the inaugural dean to hold this title-and even more excited about having the additional scholarship resources for our students and funds to support innovation in our field.”
The fund will be used for projects to support faculty research, contribute to nursing education science and enhance the educational experience for students, said Smith, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Adelphi. Some of the initiatives under consideration include expansion and enhancement of Adelphi’s simulation center, support of faculty research in nursing education science, development of new curricular and cocurricular options for students, and expanded faculty development opportunities.
“It is with deep appreciation and gratitude that CNPH will honor Dr. Forest’s legacy,” Smith said. “She was a remarkable woman who will enable us to continue to develop the next generation of nursing professionals in creative and innovative ways.”