The University of the Cumberlands received a generous gift Wednesday morning, which will make it possible for students to better prepare for workforce placement in the medical field upon graduation.
Local business owners Terry and Marion Forcht donated $1 million to help establish the Terry & Marion Forcht School of Nursing, which will house a variety of medical programs for the University, including the RN to BSN, Master’s Degree in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner, certified Nurse Aid course, as well as future nursing-related programs.
“This donation will benefit our students who are considering working in health sciences, especially in nursing-related fields,” said Dr. Larry Cockrum, President of Cumberlands. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Forchts and how their kindness will enable our students to be workforce-ready upon graduation.”
The new Terry and Marion Forcht School of Nursing will include a state-of-the-art simulation lab providing students with hands-on medical training and learning. In addition, the simulation lab will allow the School of Nursing to host continuing education programs for local healthcare professionals.
Terry Forcht is the chairman and founder of Forcht Group of Kentucky, an organization comprised of 74 companies, which employs more than 2,200 people. In 1964, Forcht came to the Williamsburg area to serve as chairman of the Commerce Department at Cumberlands. Marion Forcht is an honorary trustee at the University.
“We’re proud of our long association with University of the Cumberlands, and we look forward to seeing the first students graduate from this state-of-the-art School of Nursing,” Terry Forcht said.
The Forchts have been involved in healthcare for years. In 1972, Terry Forcht built Hillcrest Health and Rehabilitation Center. He now owns nine nursing homes and health and rehabilitation centers in southeastern Kentucky, in addition to Forcht Pharmacy. In 2009, Cumberlands named the medical wing of its Correll Science Complex after the Forchts in appreciation of their support for the University and the region as a whole.
“This is certainly something that fits into our program and our business model. We have 1,109 nursing home patients. We need people well trained and this really works well for us,” Terry Forcht said. “We have an affection for Brad Hall and Dr. Cockrum, and we know it is going to be put to a good use. It is in good hands.”
Cockrum said the gift would help the university with equipment and setting up a state-of-the-art RN degree.
Cockrum noted that the nursing in particular is a field where there are jobs available for people graduating college.
“It used to be when I graduated from college that there were enough jobs where if you really didn’t know what you wanted to do, you could still go get a job and then figure out what you wanted to do. In the RN and medical fields, there are jobs,” Cockrum said.
“What we are trying to do here is focus our students a little more towards moving towards a job. They can change their mind after they get in a job, but if they are not focused to get one, it can be difficult to get some of them.”
Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs. Learn more at ucumberlands.edu.