Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Receives Fourth Gift from William and Joanne Conway, Bringing their Total Support to More Than $10 Million

These gifts serve students through scholarships and new academic options—supporting nurses across a variety of degree levels and career tracks.

 William E. Conway, Jr., co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group

VILLANOVA, Pa. (November 28, 2023) — Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing has received a fourth gift from philanthropists William E. Conway, Jr., co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, and his wife, Joanne, bringing their total investment of the College of Nursing to over $10 million. This funding from the Conways—which will support more than 500 Villanova nursing students over the next five years—makes them the largest donors in the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s history.

“The shortage of nurses will continue to intensify as our population ages and the need for health care grows,” said William Conway. “In helping to grow nursing programs like the one at Villanova, we can begin to ensure there are enough high-quality nurses to meet demand and provide the necessary health care to our most vulnerable populations.”

The M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing educates nurses through academically challenging coursework, simulation laboratories, research opportunities and early and diverse clinical experiences. The College prepares graduates to be leaders in the areas of clinical practice, innovation, research, education and administration, while continuously evolving to keep pace with advances in nursing and changing health care needs and delivery models.

“The generosity of the Conways will benefit hundreds of future Villanova nurses and nursing faculty as well as the future patients and communities they will serve,” said Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, ’83 MSN, the Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor. “With our continued partnership, I look forward to increasing the capacity of our programs to meet the urgent need for nurses in the workforce—and qualified nursing faculty in the classroom to teach students.”

The four gifts from the Conways’ philanthropic vehicles to the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing include:

  • $5 million in 2021 and 2022 that launched the Joanne and William Conway Scholarship Program to recruit and enroll an annual cohort of 40 Conway Scholars in the Second Degree Accelerated BSN track over each of the next five years, creating access to nursing as a career for students from diverse backgrounds.
  • $2.5 million, their latest gift, will provide $10,000 scholarships to a total of 50 undergraduate Pell-eligible nursing students each year for five years, furthering the commitment of the Conways to address the national nursing shortage and to serve even more students with financial need as a barrier to pursuing a career in nursing.
  • $2.5 million in 2022 to support the Joanne and William Conway PhD Fellows Program and build upon the college’s rich history of developing nursing faculty in the Augustinian teacher-scholar model. This gift supports five cohorts of five students in the accelerated PhD program, a year-round, three-year degree completion program.
  • $250,000 earlier this year for the launch of a two-year pilot program in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), to support an innovative accelerated master’s degree program that helps address the national shortage of clinical faculty.

The generous support from the Conways helps address the critical shortage of nurses this country is now facing, and the shortages of faculty who teach them. It removes financial barriers from those who want to pursue a nursing degree and ensures that the nursing workforce is prepared to deliver safe, high-quality nursing care to those in the communities, locally and globally, who need it.

About the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing: The M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing at Villanova University is a nationally recognized, premier nursing program, committed to its Augustinian Catholic values and the tireless pursuit of academic and clinical excellence in nursing and nursing education. Founded in 1953, the College is designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. The College is committed to a teacher-clinician-scholar model, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and health care professional development programs that prepare students to assume positions as productive, ethical and socially responsible practitioners and leaders at the forefront of modern health care. For more, visit

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the Universitys six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit