Cape Cod Community College nursing supported by $500,000 donation from Wilkens

Lead donor Maureen Wilkens made another donation to the Cape Cod Community College Educational Foundation – this time half a million dollars to create an endowment fund for teachers in the nursing program.

The $500,000 will provide stipends to nursing faculty members to further their professional development or conduct research in their fields, Cape Cod Community College President John Cox said.

The stipend will cover a two-year term as “Wilkens Endowed Nursing Faculty”. At the end of the two years, another nursing professor will receive the support.

Maureen Wilkens, who gave Cape Cod Community College her largest donation of $5 million toward the establishment of the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center which will open this fall, donated an additional $500,000 for an endowment fund for the College's Faculty of Nursing.  [Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Community College]

“It’s wonderful that (Wilkens) is so committed to our students and the college,” Cox said.

Over the years, the Wilkens family has donated $11.2 million to the community college.

The largest donation to the school was $5 million in January 2019 for the establishment of the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center, which Cox said is slated to open in the fall.

The size of Maureen Wilkens’ donation made the pages of Inside Higher Ed, which called it “among the largest individual donations to a community college in the nation.”

A diagram from the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center.

Wilkens, who has a home in Osterville, has also made financial contributions to the Cape Cod Community nursing and dental labs.

In addition to creating stipends for faculty, his latest donation will help the community college’s nursing program expand beyond the 150 nursing students it serves each year to meet the growing needs of the community in nurses, college officials said.

“His generosity continues,” Cox said. “Ms. Wilkens is one of the nation’s most influential donors to community colleges.”

MacKenzie Scott also supports community colleges

Community colleges have generally pulled the short stick when it comes to philanthropic contributions to higher education.

But that can change.

Last June, MacKenzie Scott, writer and former wife of Jeff Bezos, announced that she had given more than $2.73 billion to colleges and programs that expand access to higher education for students under -represented, including community colleges, regional colleges, and higher education associations, according to Inside Higher Education.

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Cox said Wilkens and her late husband, Frank Wilkens, who died in 2011, got to know Cape Cod Community College when Kathleen Schatzberg was president.

The couple met students and heard their stories, Cox said. “It helped to easily identify the benefits of the education we provide.”

Why is it important to support nursing education?

In a statement released by Cape Cod Community College, Wilkens said she appreciates the college’s work in training nurses for the community.

“This is a vitally important area, and I know that hospitals and healthcare facilities across the region, including Cape Cod Healthcare, rely deeply on the talented healthcare professionals the college is training.”

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“The Faculty of Nursing is at the center of this education, bringing its immense talent and dedication to its courses every day. I salute them for their important work as educators.

Community college officials said they will appoint Wilkens’ first staffed faculty member in the fall semester beginning in September 2022.

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