UC Irvine officials plan to upgrade their nursing program into a full-fledged nursing school after receiving a $40-million gift, the largest the university has ever received.
The donation came from William Gross, the co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., and his wife Sue. It will help pay for a building to house the new nursing school, which would be the fourth such school in the University of California system.
UC Irvine's current nursing program has 15 instructors and 220 students. It grants bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees.
The planned school, to be named for the Grosses, would increase its faculty and enrollment by an unspecified amount. UC regents will need to approve the plan for the school to become a reality.
The funding will also be used to enhance programs that address healthcare needs of underserved populations and improve patient nutrition and wellness.
Neither William nor Sue Gross attended UC Irvine. But the couple has made numerous donations related to health care, including a $10-million gift to UC Irvine in 2006 to create a stem cell research center.
The second largest donation to UC Irvine was a $30-million gift from Chef America Inc. co-founder Paul Merage to the business school in 2005.