School to be renamed Passan School of Nursing, dedication Program receives $3.3 million donation from local philanthropist

Sarah Bedford, News Editor

The Wilkes University school of nursing will be renamed the Passan School of Nursing after receiving a gift of $3.3 million from John J. Passan, a local businessman and philanthropist according to an announcement made by Dr. Patrick Leahy Friday morning.

This is the largest gift or grant in Wilkes’ history and will be used to create a dedicated endowment for the school, the annual proceeds of which can be used by the dean in any way that advances the prominence of the nursing school.

At the 3 p.m. dedication ceremony Oct. 21, the nursing school will officially be renamed the Passan School of Nursing in honor of John J. Passan.

Junior nursing major, Hailley Malenovitch, shared her excitement over the announcement.

“I am really excited to hear that the School of Nursing at Wilkes is being renamed Passan School of Nursing,” Malenovitch said.

“I think that it is an honor for the program to be able to bear Mr. Passan’s name and it serves to distinguish the students and faculty that are part of the program.  Also, it is nice to know that someone cared enough about the education of the students at the university to provide such a generous gift in the first place.”

Carol Keup, a current member of the Board of Trustees and Passan’s niece, visited campus this spring where Carol was impressed with the work of the undergraduate and graduate program nursing faculty and staff.

The campus community is invited to attend the dedication ceremony on Oct. 21 where Passan and Keup will be in attendance.

Passan founded Valley Distributing & Storage Co. of Wilkes-Barre and has been supportive of many causes throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, including providing previous philanthropic support to Wilkes.

The 267 South Franklin Street building, which currently houses the Office of the Dean of Students, Health and Wellness Services and Residence Life, bears his name.