YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A ceremony was held on Friday at Youngstown State University for the unveiling of the Patricia McGovern Sweeney Endowed Professorship in Nursing.
The ceremony’s primary participants were the Sweeney family, after who the professorship was named, and Dr. Amy Weaver, the first recipient.
The simulation lab at YSU’s Centofanti School of Nursing became the stage for Pat Sweeney to present Dr. Weaver her medallion.
Pat then stepped to the podium and, fighting to maintain her emotions, thanked her husband and daughters for making the $500,000 gift possible.
“I get so humbled by the fact that they knew how much this meant to me and that they would do this, in my honor, for Youngstown State University,” Pat said.
Pat was Mahoning County’s first female health commissioner, but she never mentioned that accomplishment. Instead, she focused on her time at YSU, where she earned a degree in nursing.
“My entire career would not have happened had it not been for the professors and the nursing division, or the nursing community that I came in contact with her at Youngstown State University,” Pat said.
“Part of my background in nursing involves working with vulnerable older adults,” Dr. Weaver said.
Dr. Weaver, who has been part of the nursing faculty for 18 years, plans to use $60,000 to $90,000 of the endowment to start pop-up health clinics for older adults.
“The goal is to provide outreach to underserved communities to deliver evidence based, culturally competent, primary and secondary prevention at no cost to reduce health disparities in the older adult population,” Dr. Weaver said.
The Sweeney family has owned GM auto dealerships for four generations. The name is on the YSU Welcome Center and the family has sponsored the nursing school’s annual white coat ceremony. But YSU President Jim Tressel said this gift takes the Sweeney involvement at YSU to the top level.
“When we can impact a faculty member, which then impacts the rest of the faculty and the staff and the students and the community, that’s what we’re here to do,” Tressel said.
An endowed professorship is basically a grant that professors like Dr. Weaver can tap into to undertake projects like her pop-up clinics. The professorship is set up to last forever, so eventually, another nursing professor could — and likely will — use the money for something else.