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$10 million gift to UCF announced by Ken Robinson to help stop nursing shortage
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$10 million gift to UCF announced by Ken Robinson to help stop nursing shortage

UCF announced a new donation that will be used toward constructing a new, larger nursing school in Lake Nona to churn out more graduates. Dr. Philips Charities gave the money, the largest donation in the UCF College of Nursing’s history.

“Our mission is to give with purpose, and the purpose could not be clearer here — nurses save lives and our community has a great need for more talented nurses. Their hands, minds, and hearts impact us all in some way,” said Ken Robinson, president and CEO of Dr. Phillips, Inc., and the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation.

“Dr. Phillips Charities is excited to make this investment in UCF to build a stronger educational ecosystem and a pipeline that will provide nursing talent to our region for generations to come.”

UCF plans to build a $64 million, 90,000-square-foot building equipped with cutting-edge technology and lab space at Lake Nona, the same site as the UCF College of Medicine and the UCF Lake Nona Hospital. The school’s goal is to open in the 2025-26 school year, UCF spokesman Chad Binette said.

To pay for the project, UCF now has acquired $39 million — including $29 million from the state — and is launching a campaign to raise the remaining $30 million.

School officials estimate they have turned down 860 qualified nursing student applicants over the past five years because they simply lacked enough space to educate them near the main campus.

Now, UCF hopes to graduate an additional 150 nurses every year when the bigger building opens that’s double the square footage of the current facilities. UCF estimates about 85% of its nursing graduates work in Florida, and nearly 60% work in Central Florida.

“This is a transformational project that has wide-reaching impact for our region, and we will need the support of our entire community to help us reach our goal of educating more Knight nurses to positively impact more patient lives, and guide 21st-century healthcare,” UCF’s nursing dean Mary Lou Sole said earlier this year.

Calling the situation “a crisis”, the Florida Hospital Association has warned the state will be short nearly 60,000 nurses by 2035.

Some in the healthcare industry argue more needs to be done to keep nurses from burning out and leaving the profession.

Kenneth (Ken) D. Robinson serves as President and CEO for Dr. Phillips, Inc. and The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation. In his role, Ken oversees the Dr. Phillips real estate operations, an extensive disciplined investment portfolio and one of Central Florida’s largest grant making organizations. To date Dr. Phillips Charities has given in excess of $215,000,000, almost all of which has remained in Central Florida to establish a greater impact.

Ken’s primary goal at Dr. Phillips is to uphold the values, legacy and Donor Intent of the Phillips Family.

Currently, Dr. Phillips is embarking on a major undertaking of a 202-acre public/private project called The Packing District; which is located just 2 miles from downtown Orlando.  In addition, Dr. Phillips has recently completed a 186-unit state-of-the-art Senior Housing Facility and a 60,000 sq. ft. Medical Office Building in the Dr. Phillips community of Orlando, Florida.

Ken remains committed to his Central Florida roots through his support and involvement in many non-profit organizations as President of the Committee of 100 of Orange County, Inc. Ken currently serves as a Member at Large to the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, Director of The 4Roots Foundation, Inc., member of the Central Florida YMCA Metro Board, and member of the Florida Council of 100.

Ken serves as Director & Executive Committee member of the Florida Citrus Bowl as President for the 2019-2020 Season and as Chairman for the 2020-2022 Seasons.

He formerly served as Director & Executive Committee member for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts as well as Co-Chair of the Dr. Phillips Center Phase II Construction Committee and was selected to serve on the Presidential Search Committee for UCF. He also remains loyal to his alma mater, Florida State University and the College of Business.

Ken’s primary goal at Dr. Phillips is to uphold the values, legacy and Donor Intent of the Phillips Family.

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