Thinking forward

Dean Carol M. Musil

A century ago, Frances Payne Bolton committed $500,000 to create the school of nursing that now bears her name.  To mark this milestone—which culminates in a celebratory fundraising gala Oct. 14 as part of Case Western Reserve University’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend—Dean Carol M. Musil, PhD, RN (NUR ’79; GRS ’91, nursing), spoke with Forward Thinking about the landmark gift, as well as the future of nursing.

What do you consider the school's most significant achievement to date?

Clearly, it’s been the way we have advanced nursing education—a cornerstone value of the gift that Frances Payne Bolton made to the university in 1923.  

In the 1930s, we launched one of the first Master of Nursing programs in the nation for students who had a college degree in a non-nursing field—preparing them to be nursing leaders. We also started the nation’s first clinical nursing doctorate, the third PhD program, and the first Doctor of Nursing Practice program. 

How do you see nursing changing over the next century—and how will Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing lead the way? 

I expect the next 25 years will eclipse what we have seen over the last 50 to 100 years. With extensive grounding in clinical care, our graduates—at all levels—are prepared to be healthcare leaders who can tackle new challenges. They’ve been given the tools they will need to address areas of concern in the decades ahead—from the complexities of population health and the influence of climate and social factors on health and chronic illness; to the ability to envision models of care that incorporate artificial intelligence, sensors, and remote care; and the ability to conduct world-class research and drive policies that improve the human condition.  

In celebration of the centennial, the school is launching a $5 million scholarship drive. How will this support impact incoming classes and their CWRU experience? 

Now more than ever, there is a critical need for scholarship support. A recent report by McKinsey & Co. forecasted the need for 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025 due to an aging workforce and an accelerating rate of retirements spurred by the pandemic. By increasing the number of scholarships available to incoming students, the school will be able to help address this growing demand.

Through our Centennial Scholarship Fund, alumni and friends remain an integral part in advancing healthcare in our communities. The leaders you support today through scholarships will drive the next significant positive change in our healthcare systems.

To support Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s Centennial Scholarship Fund, visit

Originally published in the summer 2023 issue of Forward Thinking magazine