Fostering the Future of Nursing: The UT at Austin’s School of Nursing secures largest planned gift in its history

David and Colleen Chamberlain, John Chamberlain, Katy Chamberlain, and Jace Pirtle, Katy's fiance

In his newly created legacy, long-time Nursing supporter John Chamberlain has designated The UT at Austin School of Nursing as a beneficiary of his estate. The transformational gift is just the latest development in Mr. Chamberlain’s long history of support for the School.

“We are so grateful for friends such as John Chamberlain who understand the importance of securing a high quality education for future generations of health care leaders.” said Alexa Stuifbergen, Dean of The UT at Austin School of Nursing. “Our students and graduates continue to innovate and diversify the health care system and its culture. Now we can ensure that legacy lives on.”

John learned the value of philanthropy from his parents, Barbara and Nugent, who regularly donated to various charitable organizations throughout their lives. While he has continued this practice, John’s decision to generously support the School of Nursing began with his mother’s pursuit of a nursing career following graduation from high school. In September 1941, she received her nursing diploma from Allentown Hospital in Pennsylvania, and by the next year had enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

During her military service, Barbara worked as an operating room and general duty nurse. She also met and married John’s father, Nugent, who served in the Chemical Warfare Unit of the U.S. Army. After the war, the couple settled in Baytown, Texas, where Nugent returned to his job as a research chemist at a Baytown refinery, and Barbara frequently volunteered at the local hospital.

In 2013, following their mother’s death, John and his brother, David, sought to honor her life and nursing career by endowing the Barbara Hall Chamberlain Endowed Graduate Fellowship. In the years following the endowment of the Fellowship, John came to the realization that nurses could and should play a vital and expanding role in our country’s evolving health care system. This new planned gift will designate much-needed funds for student support via the Fellowship, with an additional purpose to further the School’s mission as leadership sees fit. 

“Even though nursing has changed a lot since my mother practiced, nurses are still the heavy lifters in the health care system,” John said. “I now believe it’s important to help nursing students and The UT at Austin School of Nursing in particular to have the ability to not only stay current with changing health care demands but become leaders of that change. Nursing needs to continue to grow, and I want to contribute in a significant way to ensure that happens.”

Dec. 11, 2019