Impactful Giving

Ross and Carol Nese’s support helps ensure a bright future for nursing education.

photo of students and Nittany Lion posing in front of the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing sign


The transformational $27.125 million naming gift to the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing in 2021 was an astounding level of commitment by philanthropists Ross and Carol Nese—and not surprising given their passion for quality health care, says Dean Laurie Badzek.

“[Ross Nese] is always looking for a better way to provide health care to people in Pennsylvania,” she says. “I respect them so much for what they’re willing to do.”

The Neses were named Penn State’s 2023 Philanthropists of the Year in recognition of their longstanding support and this most recent landmark gift, which is intended to grow the number of Penn State nursing graduates by 20% through scholarships, infrastructure and technology support, a program endowment, and seed funding for new ideas in teaching, research, outreach, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Ross Nese, founder of Grane Healthcare, which operates skilled nursing facilities across Pennsylvania, first collaborated with the college years ago about problems he was seeing in the long-term care setting, and faculty stepped up to work with him on new ways to educate nurses and nursing assistants. As a result, the Neses committed almost $10 million to fund scholarships and endow a professorship within the nursing faculty.

The Neses’ support also helped to create the Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the college. Named after their mothers, the center aims to improve health care and quality of life for older adults. Badzek says that they both were moved to tears to see their mothers honored through the center’s work.