Donors Demonstrate Passion for Students with Contributions to Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building

January 7, 2021

The Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building, completed in mid-2020, is the newest structure on Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond Campus. This modern facility, designed with students’ needs as the focus, hosts the university’s College of Nursing and the Biological Sciences department.

The Nelson Building combines state-of-the-art facilities with a flexible design that allows for student collaboration and room for future growth. The project took years of planning, and in the end, was made possible thanks to the contributions of dedicated donors.

“Our donors were absolutely essential to the success and completion of the building,” said Jamie Manahan, executive director of development and major gifts officer for Purdue Northwest. “The state of Indiana contributed the majority of the funding, but we had a specific goal for external fundraising. We are very grateful to our donors who contributed gifts at any level of support.”

One donor is Robert Milos, a retired nurse who is a longstanding supporter of PNW – particularly its nursing program. Milos first got involved with the university when he established the Robert Winston Milos Endowment, a fund that offers financial support to nursing students facing unexpected expenses and financial uncertainty.

“I wanted to do something for the field of nursing because nursing has been so personally rewarding for me,” Milos said. “I’m in a position now where I’m able to give back, and I wanted to do so right here in my own backyard of Northwest Indiana. I looked at the different nursing programs here in the area, and I really liked that PNW was going to build this new state-of-the-art bioscience building, so I thought, ‘yes, this is where I want to get involved; this is where I want to help.’”

Milos appreciated the Nelson Building project because it was about more than creating space and beautifying the campus – it represents a complete overhaul of PNW’s nursing program due to the advanced facilities it offers. His contribution allowed PNW to construct the Robert J. Milos, M.D. & Margaret J. Milos, R.N. Nursing Assessment Center that accurately replicates the experience of treating patients in a doctor’s office or clinic setting.

“When students transition to working in hospitals and clinics, they’re going to see a lot of the same equipment that they used in this center,” he said. “We want to assess their skills, get them ready, and train them so that they’ll be ready on day one when they’re hired after graduation. This is going to be a beacon that will draw in students from around the Region and across the country.”

I’m in a position now where I’m able to give back, and I wanted to do so right here in my own backyard of Northwest Indiana.

-Robert Milos

Lisa Hopp, dean of the College of Nursing at PNW, stressed that the donors are providing a demonstrable impact on her students’ education.

“This is a really powerful learning tool,” she said. “These classrooms are built for the most effective and efficient ways of learning. It’s hands-on and kinesthetic. Students really need to think through what they’re doing whether they’re in the simulation environment, the skills assessment laboratory, or physical assessment lab. Even our classrooms are all built for highly interactive learning techniques and strategies.”

Many other alumni and donors joined Milos in supporting the Nelson Building with contributions. Some of the larger spaces in the building include:

  • Community Healthcare System Simulation Center
  • Barbara A. Graegin – Barbara A. and Paul K. Graegin Nursing Skills Lab
  • Carol Abshire (alumna) – Abshire Microbiology Lab
  • Al Sori (alumnus) – Sivilla-Sori Biology Lab
  • College of Nursing Faculty and Staff Lobby

“We truly value our donors and their appreciation for healthcare,” Manahan said. “We are grateful for their passion and support for PNW and our students.”

Gathering for ribbon cutting is pictured.

Getting ready to cut the ribbon at the 70,000 square-foot Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building.

Plaques are displayed at Nils.

A commemoration of those that supported the building's development lines the hall.

The nursing center is pictured.

A new Nursing classroom awaits PNW students for a hands-on learning experience like no other.

Ribbon cutting is pictured.

Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Kenneth Holford, Dean of the College of Nursing Lisa Hopp, donor Robert Milos and PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon celebrate the opening of the Milos Nursing Assessment Center!

A side view of PNW"s Nils K. Nelson BIoscience Innovation Building.

PNW Completes Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building

Explore years of planning, months of construction and countless hours of work with the opening of the state-of-the-art Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building.

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