MONTCLAIR, NJ - As part of its ongoing commitment to patient-focused, community-oriented excellence, Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center presented Montclair State University School of Nursing with a donation of $57,000 to fund scholarships for its Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.


“Excellence in healthcare stems from a combination of academic and clinical experience,” said John Fromhold, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center. "We are committed to having the highest qualified nursing staff at Mountainside Medical Center, as it is crucial to delivering quality, patient-focused care. The horizon is bright with opportunities for win/win programs between Mountainside Medical Center and Montclair State University to ensure excellence in education and healthcare to benefit those in the community and beyond.”


Funds for the donation were accrued from the Mountainside Medical Center Physicians’ Group loan fund for medical education. Montclair cardiologist John Di Filippo, MD spearheaded the initiative to donate the funds to the MSU School of Nursing as part of the group’s commitment to helping nurses further their education.

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“This inspirational gift is grounded in the longstanding history of Mountainside Hospital physicians and their commitment to their colleagues,” said Janice Smolowitz, Dean of the School of Nursing at Montclair State University. “With the national goal of 80% of registered nurses holding Bachelor of Science degrees by 2020 in mind, this program will allow Mountainside nurses to pursue this important step in their continuing education and move the profession towards that critical mark. The Montclair State University School of Nursing and its faculty are privileged to participate in this initiative, which further demonstrates the collaborative efforts of the University and Hospital as we work to improve the community’s health and well-being.”


A ceremonial check was presented during a press conference held at the hospital. Speaking on behalf of Mountainside Medical Center were CEO John Fromhold, FACHE, John DiFilippo, MD, chairman of the scholarship loan committee, and Dell Oliver, RN, MSN, FACHE, Director of Nursing. Those addressing the group on behalf of Montclair State University included Jack Shannon, VP for University Advancement, Jan Smolowitz, Dean, School of Nursing, Tamara Lucas, Dean, College of Education & Human Services, Lora Billings, Dean, College of Science & Mathematics, and Joann Keatz, Director of Development for the School of Nursing. Also participating in the celebration were Mountainside Medical Center nurses Candise Maiore, RN, BSN and Kimberley Dicostanzo, RN, BSN, from the first cohort of students who recently graduated from the MSU program earning a BSN degree.


Speaking from personal experience, Dell Oliver recalled the deep value and benefits of scholarships in pursuing your education. Her inspirational remarks served as a testament to the importance of life-long learning, and she encouraged nurses to continue their education as it opens doors to become highly accomplished in the important field of healthcare.


As part of its commitment to assisting graduates in achieving professional success, Montclair State University’s School of Nursing programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of working RNs. Completion of the RN to BSN or MSN program will provide access to a greater variety of career options and increase the ability to maintain employment in a field where an advanced degree is an increasingly required credential. Nurses who concentrate in clinical research will gain the training they need to assume leading roles in an area of practice that is rapidly expanding in New Jersey.


A robust roundtable discussion followed the press conference, inspiring and exploring synergies to further mutually beneficial partnerships between the hospital and university. From the brainstorming emerged a wealth of ideas for complementary services combining clinical and campus experience which could provide internship opportunities and in-service training programs with different entities of MSU, including the Departments of Public Health, Nutrition & Food Studies, Exercise Science, the Center for Research and Evaluation Services, the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, and Music Therapy, among others. Some of the broader issues that surfaced for collaborative efforts to bring the clinical and academic experience together include sustainability, electronic health records, medical technology, administration, medical research, behavioral health and broadcast media. It was agreed that the dialogue will continue and progress will be reported.


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For information regarding this release, contact Jeanine Genauer, The JPR Group Public Relations,, 973-980-0100.


About Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center

Mountainside Medical Center has been serving Montclair and its surrounding New Jersey communities since 1891. The hospital provides patients immediate access to innovative and effective treatment alternatives at specialized centers within the hospital that focus on imaging, women’s health, cancer care, surgery, obesity, stroke and chronic kidney disease. Mountainside Medical Center is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the NJ State Department of Health and Senior Services and is one of only a few community hospitals licensed by the State to perform emergency cardiac angioplasty. To learn more about Mountainside Medical Center visit


Montclair State University

Montclair State University is a research doctoral institution ranked in the top tier of national universities. Building on a distinguished history dating back to 1908, the University today has 11 colleges and schools that serve more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 300 doctoral, master's and baccalaureate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 252-acre suburban campus just 12 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment.