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Chuck and Leslie Higgins

Leslie Higgins, Ph.D., Professor, Gordon E. Inman Graduate School of Nursing

Chuck Higgins, Environmental Engineer; President, Edge Group, Inc.

As a faculty member how did you first become aware of/involved with Belmont University?

We have been involved with Belmont since 1994. A 20-year Belmont faculty veteran, I (Leslie) currently serve as a professor in the Graduate School of Nursing and was Director of the Graduate Nursing Program until I stepped out of that administrative role to begin my phased retirement.

Why do you want to support Belmont?

The way Belmont prepares our nursing students at the undergraduate and graduate levels is an excellent model because we are both high tech and high touch. The way we educate is important and encouraging. Belmont is putting a lot of positive resources into its graduate and professional programs, but there are not as many scholarships for graduate students as for undergraduate students. As a private institution, a Belmont education is a financial sacrifice for many students and their families. To help ease the financial strain for our students and encourage qualified applicants to consider Belmont, we decided to create the Higgins Family Graduate Nursing Endowed Scholarship which supports students enrolled in Belmont’s graduate nursing program.

Why are you supporting scholarships?

In addition to my teaching role at Belmont, Chuck concurrently built his engineering career and taught for over 15 years as an adjunct in the Vanderbilt School of Engineering. Developing young people is our passion. We see our endowed scholarship as a natural way to put that belief into action.

Is there a specific experience you’ve had at Belmont that inspired these gifts to scholarships?

Before my teaching career at Belmont, I (Leslie) had a fulfilling career as a full-time nurse practitioner. When I became a nursing professor, I experienced a professional fulfillment/contentment that I had never experienced before. Chuck has seen me grow and thrive at Belmont which has been inspiring to him.

Why would you encourage others to give to Belmont?

Belmont is an important educational resource. It is a worthy institution to plant seeds and watch them grow. It is worthy of philanthropy.