Wake Tech receives million dollar donation to nursing school

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Wake Tech Community College receives largest donor gift ever
The Wake Tech Community College just received one of the largest donor giftt's it's ever received.

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Wake Technical Community College has received one of the largest donor gifts ever - a million dollars, over several years, for its nursing program.

Because of this donation, the building was able to be renamed to the nursing school for Martha Mann Smith.

Smith was once a nurse.

"And that was the hardest work, but the most fun I ever had, I reckon," said Smith.

She met her husband through her job. He was a patient while she worked at Rex Hospital years ago. He had a 2x4 stuck in his leg, and Smith didn't think he would make it.

She was cleaning his room when a bottle of Ajax fell under his bed.

"And I got down on all fours and went under the bed and the preacher came," she said, "And he talked to Louis, and I found out what his name was, that he was at State College, where his parents were and what they did and everything. I learned a lot under the bed," she said laughing.

Martha's time caring for others inspired her million-dollar donation to Wake Tech for scholarships, faculty pay and new technology.

"Just in Wake County alone, of course, the population is growing, but with that, there's also an increase in demand in nursing," health science dean, Dr. Molly Curry said.

According to the school, there is already a shortage in qualified nursing faculty, and there may be a shortage in nurses in next five years - as the average age of the workforce is 48 - but with this new donation, the school is excited about the possibilities.