Dream Big

Since the initiation of the first nursing program in 1908, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has been traditionally ahead of our time. Through innovations in education, practice and research, Vanderbilt remains a top 15-ranked nursing school preparing leaders who change individuals, communities and health care for the better.

A steadfast commitment to advanced-practice nursing education—a distinguishing factor among many of our peer institutions—reinforces our focus on educating nurse leaders. Our graduates become the chief nursing officers and deans who lead institutions; the nurses who pioneer research advances; and the visionaries who revolutionize community health. Now, we envision the possibilities for life-changing discovery and innovation while we widen student access to this top tier of nursing leadership.

Photo of Jessica McMillan


BA’13, MSN’16, DNP’17

Valere Blair Potter Scholars

Elijah Nevins Kirkpatrick Scholarship Fund

A single phone call changed Jessica McMillan’s life. On the other end of the line was Dean Linda Norman, offering her a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in nursing.

McMillan’s dream of attending Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing and working in community mental health was now a reality. In one fateful conversation, the financial burden of an advanced degree was lifted for this first-generation college graduate.

“Scholarships supported me every step of the way,” says McMillan, who earned both her master’s (MSN) and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees at Vanderbilt. “Because of this support, I’m able to provide care for those most at-risk and help them understand what it means to have mental wellness.”

Points of Pride

  • No. 2: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
  • No. 2: Psychiatric-Mental Health
  • No. 3: Informatics
  • No. 3: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
  • No. 5: Family Health
  • No. 8: Pediatric Primary Care
ALUMNI RESIDE in all 50 states and students currently hail from 43 states, accounting for a STRONG NATIONAL VANDERBILT NURSING NETWORK
SINCE 2006, applications have more than doubled, and the size of OUR INCOMING CLASS HAS INCREASED BY 45.5 PERCENT
TOP 15 Our doctor of nursing practice (dnp) program is ranked no.11 among 220 graduate schools of nursing in U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT —the master of science in nursing (msn) program is no. 14

Our Priorities


The School of Nursing has the special opportunity to nurture the next generation of nurse leaders and nursing faculty who will have an increasingly pivotal role in health care delivery. Endowed scholarships reduce the financial burden our students face—currently, 75 percent of our students qualify for full financial aid and master’s students graduate with an average debt of $80,000.

An expanded portfolio of scholarships supporting master’s, DNP and Ph.D. students as well as post-doctoral candidates is essential to enable Vanderbilt to continue to educate diverse leaders in nursing who will improve health care. 


Support for faculty will expand the research and scholarship capabilities of our school, elevating Vanderbilt’s position as not only a top leader in education and practice but also in research. 

Philanthropy will drive research among faculty members like Jeremy Neal, Ph.D., who are pursuing innovative discoveries with the potential for far-reaching impact. 

Neal, a Certified Nurse-Midwife, is developing a tool to evaluate labor progression in women. The goal is to improve birth outcomes for mothers and infants while decreasing health care costs. Other gifts to support research could provide discovery grants to kick-start novel projects and strengthen funding for the school’s Center for Research Development and Scholarship.


By all accounts, the School of Nursing has experienced tremendous growth—today the school operates as one of the largest in the country with nearly 900 students. A new addition to expand the school’s footprint acknowledges this growth and allows us to remain at the forefront of innovation.

The new building improves the student experience, enhances student-faculty interactions and bolsters research in innovative ways. Distinctive features such as its technologically advanced simulation lab will better prepare our students while increasing our interprofessional training opportunities and outreach to the community.


Your annual gift to the School of Nursing provides immediate support for scholarships, putting an advanced practice nursing education in reach of deserving, talented students. 

Each year, these annual gifts combine to make a tremendous difference in creating scholarships that allow students not only to choose Vanderbilt, but also to thrive here.


Planned gifts, including bequests and life income gifts, are designed to help you meet your financial and charitable goals while supporting the School of Nursing over the long term.

In the past decade, planned gifts—from generous alumni and friends like Nancy Travis, a 1947 graduate whose estate gift supports dozens of nursing students each year—have strengthened our endowment and increased our ability to award scholarships. 

“From our position as a leader in nursing practice and education to our opportunities in discovery research, we are constantly thinking about the contributions that nursing is making—and will make—to health care. Our breadth of offerings and extensive practice network attracts top students from all across the nation, but our close community and our innovative approach to education define us.”

— Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN, Dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor, School of Nursing

Financial Snapshot

How the School of Nursing’s $83.9 million endowment is used

Financial Snapshot

Where do our graduates go?

Chart: Endowment Peer Comparison

For more information on how you can support the School of Nursing and our growing impact on health care, please contact (615) 343-4474 or VUSNgiving@vanderbilt.edu.