Nursing education and practice in Colorado and beyond will take a significant step forward following an $8 million grant to the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

The CU Board of Regents, meeting on the campus of CU Denver Friday, voted unanimously to name the college the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences in recognition of the Denver-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation grant. This is the first UCCS academic college to be named in recognition of a donor.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Johnson Foundation’s continued support of improved health care in Colorado,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak. “For more than 100 years, the Beth-El College of Nursing has provided high-quality, innovative, professional health education. With this gift, the Johnson Foundation helped ensure that this tradition of innovation and excellence will continue.”

The $8 million gift will be placed into an endowment for the benefit of the college. Only investment proceeds will be spent, helping ensure that funds remain in perpetuity.

“These resources will help us hire additional faculty to educate future nurses, as well as to provide the latest information to nurses currently in the field,” said Nancy Smith, dean, Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

For the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, the gift continues a legacy that began in 1948. That year, the Johnson family started a philanthropic tradition of thoughtful giving that has thrived for nearly seven decades and four generations of family members. Through both financial support and strategic guidance, the private family foundation has helped hundreds of outstanding nonprofit organizations make a lasting impact in communities throughout Colorado and beyond. For more information, visit

“The Beth-El College of Nursing is an outstanding program and its efforts are imperative to address the nursing shortage in our state, especially in rural Colorado. Our family foundation is proud of our long-standing partnership with the college and we are pleased to provide this gift to help ensure long-term sustainability and continued action in addressing such a critical health care issue,” said Lynn Campion, chairman, Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees.

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The Beth-El College of Nursing was established in 1904 by an agency of the Methodist Church. The school was purchased by the City of Colorado Springs in 1943 and became part of the then-city owned Memorial Hospital. In 1983, Beth-El received accreditation as a professional college. In 1997, following a public vote, Beth-El merged with UCCS.

UCCS is one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado. It offers 36 bachelor degrees, 19 master and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 11,000 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit