Commonwealth University Receives Transformational $5 Million Gift to Support Nursing at all CU Locations

Breiner School of Nursing Announcement
From left: President Bashar Hanna; Trustee Jessica Dodge, a sophomore nursing student at the Bloomsburg location; Ed and Julie Breiner; Kim Olszewski, senior associate dean of the Breiner School Nursing in the College of Health Professions; Erik Evans, vice president for University Advancement; and Leo-Felix Jurado, dean of the College of Health Professions.

Historic Gift Renames Critical Nursing Education Institution the Breiner School of Nursing

Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania (CU) has received its first-ever transformational gift. The $5 million gift from Ed and Julie Breiner, both 1977 graduates of the CU legacy institution Bloomsburg University, will support nursing education at all CU locations—Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Mansfield, and Clearfield.

Their commitment marks the first multimillion-dollar alumni gift that supports the new comprehensive direction of the integrated university and largest single gift ever given to the School of Nursing at any of the historic campuses. In honor of their support, the school, which has programming at all university locations, will be renamed the Breiner School of Nursing, within the College of Health Professions.

“There are no words that can truly express how grateful we are for Ed and Julie's steadfast support," said CU President Bashar W. Hanna. “This amazing gift and their commitment to supporting education for healthcare professionals will empower our School of Nursing to provide an affordable, top-tier education and produce exceptional graduates. Thanks to the Breiners’ generosity, we can now extend those opportunities and resources to even more students.”

The impact of the gift, donated through the Bloomsburg University Foundation, will help advance nursing education and healthcare across the state. With more than 1,100 nursing students enrolled, spanning from associate to doctorate levels, “Commonwealth University has already established itself as a vital institution within the nursing community, and it is now set to reach even greater impact with this funding,” President Hanna added.

The new funds will bolster various facets of nursing education, including professorships, faculty fellowships, research, clinical support, travel, conferences, networking, outreach, facility enhancements, essential equipment, and software.

“This generous donation will have a lasting impact on our ability to educate and train the next generation of nursing professionals,” said Kim Olszewski, senior associate dean of the School of Nursing. “A gift like this embodies the definition of philanthropy. Ed and Julie have positioned us to recruit and retain the most talented aspiring healthcare professionals to make a significant impact on healthcare, especially considering the pressing nursing shortage we are facing within the next few years.”

Since their initial gift to Bloomsburg State College in 1980, the Breiners have steadily expanded their support, enriching professional experiences for nursing and healthcare students. This gift raises their total contributions to more than $7.5 million.

Ed Breiner, a retired energy and mining industry executive, and Julie, a retired medical technologist, have dedicated themselves to giving back to both their alma mater and their local community.

“We believe in the transformative power of education,” Mr. and Mrs. Breiner shared. “With this endowment, we hope to provide aspiring nurses with the best education and training possible while also keeping it affordable, ensuring their ability to make immediate contributions in the healthcare field. Commonwealth University's commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with our vision of affordable, high-quality education for prospective students.”

“Ed and Julie have inspired us all by matching their philanthropic aspirations with their passion for supporting our students throughout the years,” said Erik Evans, vice president for Advancement at Commonwealth University. “We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate that they have chosen to champion the field of Nursing at CU, leaving a profound impact not only on our students but also resonating across the entire region.”