Frontier Nursing University awards degrees to more than 600 graduates

Barbara and Donald Jonas, founders of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, awarded honorary doctorate

Lexington, Kentucky, UNITED STATES

Hyden, Kentucky, Nov. 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Frontier Nursing University (FNU), a graduate school educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners, hosted its 2017 commencement ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Hyden, Ky. Over the past year, more than 600 nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners from almost every state across the nation have completed an FNU distance-education program. The commencement ceremony was attended by more than 160 graduates and 1,200 of their family members and friends. The ceremony also included a special video presentation of the awarding of an honorary doctorate degree to philanthropists Barbara and Donald Jonas who founded the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence.

Started by nurse-midwifery pioneer Mary Breckinridge, FNU has been educating nurses and midwives for nearly 80 years and has grown into one of the country’s leading graduate schools with an annual enrollment exceeding 2,000. FNU, recognized as a Top 50 online graduate nursing school by U.S. News & World Report, offers doctoral and master’s degrees for nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners. The university leverages innovative distance-education methods to reach nurses throughout the country and the world. FNU graduates provide primary care for women and families residing in all areas, with a focus on rural and underserved communities.

FNU produces about a third of the certified nurse-midwives in the U.S. For the 2016-2017 graduation year, nearly 40 percent of the more than 600 graduates completed FNU’s nurse-midwifery program.

FNU President Dr. Susan Stone presided over the commencement ceremony and degrees were conferred on graduates of Frontier’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. MSN graduates  completed the Nurse-Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner or Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks.

Dr. Jennifer Hatcher, director of diversity and inclusivity and associate professor for the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Hatcher holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing as a family nurse practitioner, a Master’s in Public Health and a PhD in Nursing. She is the founder and director of the DREAM Center, a multidisciplinary research center focused on promoting positive health outcomes for underrepresented minorities by promoting workforce diversity, health equities research and training the next generation of health equities scholars. Dr. Hatcher has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade to conduct health disparities research focused on improving health outcomes for underrepresented minorities.

In honor of their extensive support and contributions to the advancement of nursing, FNU awarded Barbara and Donald Jonas with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Mr. and Mrs. Jonas established the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, a first-of-its-kind philanthropic program dedicated to advancing nursing. The focus is on establishing grants based on partnerships between schools of nursing and clinical practice settings as well as convening opinion leaders to develop solutions to long-standing problems challenging the nursing profession.

The Jonas Center has supported more than 1,000 Jonas Scholars and is the nation’s leading philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education. The Jonas Scholars program has had a significant impact on Frontier Nursing University students. Two members of the 2012-2014 cohort received $30,000 in scholarship support, four members of the 2014-16 cohort of students received $50,000 in scholarship support, and four more students in the 2016-18 cohort are receiving $70,000 in scholarship awards. That’s a total of $150,000 impacting ten FNU students.

View the special presentation of the honorary doctorate to Barbara and Donald Jonas here.


About Frontier Nursing University:

The mission of FNU is to educate nurses to become competent, entrepreneurial, ethical and compassionate nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners who are leaders in the primary care of women and families with an emphasis on underserved and rural populations. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom. Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post-Graduate Certificates. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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