Building Campaign

The UT College of Nursing and our graduates are poised to play a key role in transforming health care in Tennessee and beyond.  On October 4, Dean Victoria Niederhauser announced the launch of a campaign to expand and enhance the college’s facilities.


Demand for nurses is skyrocketing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor jobs for registered nurses are growing at 10 times the national average. As our baby-boomer population ages and the need for health care grows, there are projected openings for more than 200,000 RNs per year, through 2026. Tennessee is not immune to the national nursing shortage crisis—the US Health Resources and Service Administration estimates we will only be able to meet half of our state’s demand for nurses  by next year.

In 2018, the college implemented a five- year plan to increase enrollment by more than 50 percent to meet workforce demands in our state and beyond. Unfortunately, we cannot meet these growth goals in our current space. 


The current College of Nursing building was built in 1978, and today, we are bursting at the seams. The 42,000 square feet facility houses more than 161 faculty and staff members and delivers nursing courses to more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Classroom and laboratory space is at a premium; faculty and staff offices are at double, or even triple, occupancy; and there are no student interaction or study areas. These challenges present an opportunity for transformation.

The $85 million 117,000-square-foot building will have four stories and feature several unique elements including: 

  • Four enhanced simulation spaces: a physical assessment lab, a lab that focuses on improving psychological and motor skills, a high-fidelity acute care area that mimics hospital care, and a high-fidelity primary care area that mimics a primary care office.
  • Spacious classroom spaces that will accommodate larger classes of nurses.
  • A dedicated space for distance education students and a green room that enables high-quality recordings.
  • A pre-function space that will open onto Peyton Manning Pass. 
  • A state-of-the-art wet laboratory that will accommodate the college’s microbiome scientists as well as collaborators from other disciplines.
  • A student commons space with a fresh food dining option, providing a space to refuel and build social ties.


The building campaign’s spark came in the form of a transformational $7.5 million gift—the largest in the college’s history—from Sara Croley (BSN ’00) and her husband, Ross. The purpose of the gift is two-fold, with $5.5 million supporting the building renovation and $2 million establishing the Sara Rosenbalm Croley Dean’s Chair. The space will be named the Croley Nursing Building in recognition of their generous support.

As an alumna, Sara recognized the need for more nurses and wanted their gift to serve as a catalyst to fulfill the college’s vision for growth.

The $85 million anticipated cost for the project will be funded through a combination of donations and state funding. The college has set a campaign goal to raise $12.5 million in private support.

Learn more about naming opportunities in the Croley Nursing Building.


The University Of Tennessee, Knoxville asks you to consider giving to the College Of Nursing Building Fund. Your gift directly benefits tomorrow’s Vol Nurses by investing in our students, facilities, and programs.

The campaign accepts donations earmarked for the capital project and endowed gifts to support continued growth. There are named recognition opportunities within the new building that can be paired with your philanthropic priorities and desired gift impact.

“Ross and I are investing in the future of nursing in Tennessee. We hope this gift opens the door of opportunity for many more amazing nurses…”

-Sara Rosenbalm Croley (BSN ’00)


To learn more about the building and its fundraising campaign, contact Diannah Eagle, Director of Advancement.