Two University of Arizona alumni have made a $1.5 million gift to support COVID-19 initiatives, students in the College of Nursing and student-athletes whose eligibility has been extended.
Andrew and Kirsten Braccia, who live in the San Francisco Bay area with their four children, were inspired to make their gift after learning about University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins’ plan to reopen campus in the fall using a “test, trace and treat” strategy, said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the UArizona Foundation.
“The Braccias have expressed their confidence in our president’s leadership at this difficult time. They’re proud to be alumni of a university that’s blazing this crucial trail and excited to help realize President Robbins’ vision,” Roczniak said.
Kirsten Braccia graduated from the College of Nursing and worked as a registered nurse at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on the Stanford University campus. Andrew Braccia, an alumnus of the Eller College of Management, is a venture capitalist with Accel Partners.
“I am so grateful to Andrew and Kirsten for their generosity and for being outstanding examples of what it means to be a Wildcat for Life,” University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said. “Their partnership will have a huge impact in the lives of our nursing students as they transition to remote learning, which in turn will support the health and well-being of the many communities we serve. And with their incredible gift helping to fuel the expertise of our faculty and staff, and the determination of our students, I know the University of Arizona will come out of this crisis stronger than ever.”
Funding COVID-19 initiatives
The Braccias directed $200,000 of the gift to the president’s COVID-19 Testing, Research and Re-entry Fund.
The money will be used to fund Robbins’ plan to resume in-person classes in the fall by following a test, trace and treat strategy, which calls for COVID-19 antibody testing for the campus community. Other university supporters also have made donations to back the testing effort.
Expanding clinical experience
The largest portion of the Braccias’ gift, $1 million, will be used by the College of Nursing to enhance simulation facilities at the Tucson, Phoenix and Gilbert campuses, and to purchase software that students can use remotely.
Nursing students regularly engage in team-based clinical procedures under the direction of faculty and simulation specialists. Thanks to the Braccias’ gift, these future nurses will be able to receive live feedback while training in realistic and complex scenarios.
Supporting ‘super seniors’
The remaining $300,000 of the Braccias’ gift goes to Arizona Athletics, where it will be used to fund scholarships for “super seniors,” the student-athletes who were granted another season of eligibility after being unable to compete this spring.
The Braccias’ gift covers half of the estimated $600,000 needed to cover scholarships for these students.