Company makes donation to SMC nursing expansion

Published 6:29 pm Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lake Michigan Mailers announced Wednesday it will donate $10,000 to Southwestern Michigan College to support the expansion of its nursing and health education building on the College’s Dowagiac campus.

Expansion of the nursing and health education building will more double the size of the current facility, provide state-of-the-art learning space, cutting-edge teaching technology and will allow the college to increase its enrollment in its well-known nursing program. The entire expansion and renovation is expected to cost $9.6 million. Funding will be derived from multiple sources including a $4 million appropriation from the State of Michigan, $3 million from the College’s building and site fund and the remaining $2.6 million from a major gift initiative open to community members and regional businesses.

“The need is clear and the time to act is now,” said David C. Rhoa, president of Lake Michigan Mailers Inc. “Our region will face a severe nursing shortage by 2030.

“The planned renovation and expansion of the Nursing and Health Education Building will bring affordable, accessible and cutting-edge education to our region, just when we need it most. We felt strongly that we had to get engaged and be part of the solution.”

This gift is the largest donation made to SMC by Lake Michigan Mailers, but it comes just one year after company co-founders Robert and Karen Rhoa donated $7,000 for scholarships at SMC designated for students enrolled in the associate of applied science criminal justice program.

“This donation to the Nursing and Health Education expansion project, along with the scholarships that Karen and I have created, represent our continuing commitment to improving our region’s quality of life,” said Robert Rhoa, cofounder and chief executive officer of Lake Michigan Mailers.

“We are delighted a progressive, community-minded leader such as Lake Michigan Mailers shares our vision. The Rhoa family for 40 years has served customers large and small from state-of-the-art facilities in Michigan and Indiana that use cutting-edge technology to expedite processing. With pressure on hospitals to get patients in and out, it’s difficult nationally to find adequate clinical space. More clinical access is one of the biggest factors driving this. Second is the ability to double the number of nurses. Hospitals love our nurses, they just need more,” said SMC President Dr. David Mathews. “Like Lake Michigan Mailers, this project is very forward-looking as we position the college so the next generation has access to affordable, highest-possible-quality college education close to home. Besides transforming lives of individual students, community leaders’ support helps us meet workforce needs of hospitals and health-care providers across our region.”