UAMS College of Nursing in Northwest Arkansas receives $360,000 to Support Nursing Excellence

By David Wise

The gift establishes the Harvey and Bernice Jones Endowed Fund for Nursing Excellence, which will support the UAMS College of Nursing programs in Northwest Arkansas and provide scholarships to graduate-level nursing students practicing in Northwest Arkansas. The funds will be distributed to the UAMS College of Nursing over the next six years.

Over the last three years, contributions from the Jones Charitable Trust, with additional support from private donors and Springdale-based Excellerate Foundation (formerly Endeavor), have enabled the UAMS College of Nursing to award $117,000 in scholarships to students practicing in Northwest Arkansas. Students typically receive $5,000 each year to support the cost of their graduate nursing degrees.

“The scholarships were made possible by the generosity of numerous past board members of Excellerate Foundation who share Harvey and Bernice Jones’s passion to support nursing excellence in Northwest Arkansas,” said Betsy Phillips, trustee for the Jones Charitable Trust.

“Gifts from the Jones Charitable Trust, when complemented with grants from Excellerate Foundation, have the potential to transform nursing education and nursing care in Northwest Arkansas,” said Patricia Cowan, Ph.D., RN, dean of the UAMS College of Nursing. “Our nursing students will benefit from this generosity for years to come.”

Harvey and Bernice Jones are familiar names across all of Arkansas. More than their entrepreneurial success, the couple had a sincere willingness to support the needs of their neighbors, friends, and the Springdale and Northwest Arkansas community.

Harvey and Bernice Jones grew up in Northwest Arkansas. Harvey Jones founded his transportation business in 1918 at age 18 when the railroad was on strike. With two mules and a wagon, he hauled dry goods to Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville. With his hard work and tenacity, Jones Truck Lines became the largest privately owned and operated fleet in America.

The Joneses also invested in their home town of Springdale. They helped build Springdale Memorial Hospital, now Northwest Medical Center, in the 1940s. They also funded the coronary care unit, opened a hotel for patients’ families, and purchased equipment for the eye care unit. Their service on the Springdale Hospital board spanned 51 years, and Bernice Jones started the hospital’s auxiliary.

Education and health care were among their greatest passions. In 1957, they formed the Jones Foundation and provided college scholarships to Springdale High School students who were interested in nursing school. The scholarship program later became the Har-Ber School of Nursing.

“Health care was a cornerstone of what Harvey and Bernice Jones believed in,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “And education was a focal point of their passion to improve the lives of the people of Northwest Arkansas. I know that Mrs. Jones would be thrilled because her dream was to have excellent nursing care in our Northwest Arkansas hospitals and clinics.”

Throughout their lives, giving to their community was central to who they were. In 1995, Bernice Jones made a legacy gift to the community by establishing the Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Harvey and Bernice Jones have been contributing to UAMS since 1985, including a multi-million dollar gift to establish the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute at the UAMS Little Rock campus. While Harvey Jones died in 1989 and Bernice Jones died in 2003, because of their generosity and vision, the Jones Trust has helped expand the UAMS College of Nursing to Northwest Arkansas because of the need for advanced practice nursing education in the region.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and four dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus includes 250 medical, pharmacy, nursing and health professions students, 50 medical and pharmacy residents, and 1,000 community-based faculty. The campus has nine clinics including a student-led clinic and physical, occupational and speech therapy. Faculty conduct research to reduce health disparities. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.