Continuing its commitment to improving the quality of patient care and fostering nursing excellence through education, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation today announced $100 million in founding support to launch the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis.

The commitment will help in founding a professional nursing school in Sacramento that emphasizes leadership, scientific rigor, and multi-disciplinary training. The goals are to graduate nurse leaders, educators, and researchers who will make positive, long-term systemic impacts to health care in California and throughout the nation.

The funding, to be allocated over 11 years, is the largest philanthropic grant to UC Davis and one of the largest in the history of the University of California. It is also the largest philanthropic gift in the nation in support of nursing education.

Pending approvals from the University’s Academic Senate, the UC Board of Regents, the Board of Registered Nursing, the California Postsecondary Education Commission and other entities, UC Davis anticipates admitting its first students in master’s and doctorate programs to the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing in the fall of 2008. Once all students are enrolled, the school is expected to serve 456 students.

"Today’s announcement is about investing in future nurse leaders," said Ed Penhoet, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "UC Davis and the Foundation share a vision to face our nation’s health care problems by integrating the best of health care and scientific practices with multiple disciplines in higher education for nurses. However, additional funding and broader partnerships are needed to make this vision a reality. We are confident that UC Davis will ensure that the most comprehensive training will be provided to students and significantly advance nursing research. We encourage leaders in the health care community and donors to join us in supporting UC Davis."

The school will bear the name of Betty Irene Moore, who with her husband established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2000. Betty Irene Moore is an advocate for patient safety, quality nursing care and education and is the impetus behind the San Francisco-based Foundation’s Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative. Betty’s advocacy has ignited a movement around these issues, which will be further amplified through the new school’s approach to nursing education. Gordon Moore is the co-founder, past CEO and chairman emeritus of Intel Corp. A chemist and physicist, Gordon Moore is most widely known for "Moore’s Law," the guiding principle for predicting the delivery of more powerful computer chips for semiconductors.

"We are most grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for partnering with UC Davis to help us take the first step toward realizing our long-held vision to expand our education of health care leaders," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "For several years UC Davis has been studying the possibilities for expanding our nursing education program, and the Foundation’s generosity will help make those aspirations a reality. We are honored that the school will bear Betty Irene Moore’s name. We share her personal interest in improving the outcomes of patient care for everyone. Her passion matches our own tradition of serving the public and our desire to make health care safer and more accessible."

Once established, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis will join professional schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, law, business and education. In addition to the funding from the Foundation, a mix of public funding and additional philanthropic support from other donors will be required to realize the long-term vision for the school.

UC Davis also continues to actively pursue the creation of a professional School of Public Health, which is currently progressing through the approval process.

The nursing school is to be located at the Sacramento campus of UC Davis, sharing existing facilities with the UC Davis Medical Center and UC Davis School of Medicine. The school would be the fourth professional nursing program in the University of California system, joining schools of nursing at UCLA and UC San Francisco, and a nursing program at UC Irvine.

"This incredibly generous contribution from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation begins the process of establishing a nursing school that will further expand the university’s contribution to this critical state need," said University of California system President Robert C. Dynes. "The proposal for this school will move through all the normal review and approval processes for the establishment of any new professional school. But today’s gift is a critical first step. We and the Foundation clearly share the vision of creating a nursing school that will feature an innovative curriculum and contribute richly to meeting statewide nursing needs and for improving health care for all Californians."

Today’s announcement comes as legislators and other opinion leaders are calling for an expansion in the number of nurse educators in California, where thousands of qualified applicants are denied entry into nursing education programs due to a lack of faculty to teach them. Researchers have also identified the need for nurse leaders to help improve health care delivery.

"Nurses represent one of the largest health care workforces and are essential for safe and efficient patient care. They can and should play a critical role in improving our nation’s health care system," said Helen Kim, chief program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Plans for the school include rigorous admissions standards, a curriculum that would be integrated with both UC Davis’ School of Medicine and Graduate School of Management, and residency training for bachelor’s degree candidates. All degree programs would also incorporate UC Davis’ expertise in public health, telemedicine and health technology.

"We are looking forward to working with members of the nursing community and collaborating with our faculty colleagues in the Academic Senate as we develop our admission standards and curriculum to create a top-ranked nursing school," said Claire Pomeroy, UC Davis vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. "We are excited to move forward to achieve our goal of educating the nursing leaders of the future."

The leader of the UC Davis team working to establish the school of nursing, School of Medicine Executive Associate Dean Ann Bonham, said the campus is ready to move the effort forward.

"We look forward to building momentum and broad support from California’s nursing leadership," Bonham said. "With this support, we will begin immediately to recruit a world-class dean and faculty committed to preparing future nurses to lead inter-professional teams in an increasingly complex and ever-changing health care system. We will also make it a top priority in the days and weeks ahead to identify partners who share this wonderful vision of a new and innovative school of nursing—a vision first articulated by Betty Irene Moore."

"The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing will leverage UC Davis’ strengths in scientific expertise, health care leadership, innovation in technology, collaborative team training and its tradition of public service to reach its goals," Kim said. "We look forward to maintaining a successful, collaborative partnership with UC Davis on this exciting project."

For a Webcast of the announcement event, a fact sheet and more information, see and

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation 

Established in 2000, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation seeks to advance environmental conservation and scientific research around the world, and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit

About the University of California, Davis 

UC Davis, which will celebrate its centennial in 2008, is one of the nation’s top public research universities, with a tradition of service to the region, the nation and the world. UC Davis is a pioneer in interdisciplinary problem-solving, and its four colleges, five professional schools, more than 100 academic majors and 86 graduate programs provide a comprehensive, rigorous and research-based learning environment for students, faculty and researchers. The 30,000-student university has its main campus in the Sacramento Valley, near the state capital and San Francisco Bay Area. The UC Davis School of Medicine and the UC Davis Medical Center are located on the Sacramento campus near downtown.

Related Link:


Help us spread the word.

If you know someone who is interested in this field or what we are doing at the foundation, pass it along.

Get Involved

Related Stories