In Times of Greatest Need, JWU Gives Back


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During this difficult time, support of Johnson & Wales University is more important than ever. Such generosity today helps ensure JWU students, like Emma Nanfan ’24, fulfill their dreams and are poised to make a difference tomorrow.

When COVID-19 hit, Nanfan thought she’d have to take a year off from JWU and her health science major. She explains, “My mom is a makeup artist. The pandemic meant that she was no longer getting work, which made money really tight.”

Fortunately, for Nanfan and other students in similar circumstances, the JWU Emergency Fund was there to help.

The JWU Emergency Fund, established to shepherd Wildcats during challenging times, has been especially helpful during this pandemic. Along with others, that assistance was boosted by the generosity of Trustee David A. Wilson, Ph.D., ’99 Hon., P’98 and Jane Wilson P’98, who sponsored an end-of-year challenge and matched all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. The year-end challenge raised more than $275,000, Those dollars went to support JWU students such as Nanfan who were impacted financially by COVID-19. The challenge has continued to inspire donors to give in the new calendar year, including the Chaîne Foundation, which made a $15,000 gift, and the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management Foundation.

The Wilson Family
The Wilson family

“The Calendar Year-End Challenge was an extraordinary effort to meet an unprecedented need and unsurprisingly, our JWU community came out in force to support our students,” says Maureen Dumas, Ed.D., vice president for Advancement & University Relations.

Nanfan is grateful to be back in the classroom at the Providence Campus: “My favorite classes are my labs. I’ve always loved science and health. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be part of the health science field.” She plans on becoming a speech therapist. Thanks to the generosity of the JWU community — alumni, parents, faculty, staff, trustees and other friends of the university — COVID-19 is not going to stop her.

As the university continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, JWU is grateful for the community members who have unfailingly supported its mission. Sadly, on June 5, 2020, the university lost a stalwart supporter and beloved member of the JWU community: William (Bill) J. Day Ph.D., ’91 M.SProfessor Day was a retired faculty member in the College of Hospitality Management and a passionate supporter of JWU, particularly of its hospitality students and the Providence Campus. As a faculty member, he lived by the mantra that students always come first. So it’s fitting that his loved ones, plus JWU colleagues and friends, chose to honor him by contributing more than $17,000 to provide scholarships and financial aid to JWU hospitality students.

William (Bill) Day, Ph.D., ’91 M.S.
William (Bill) Day, Ph.D., ’91 M.S.

Professor Day’s wife, Karen Day, says, “To know some students will benefit from this scholarship for years to come as they prepare for their futures, even after Will is gone, is something he would be so incredibly proud of and so are we.”

Alumni and other JWU community members are invited to honor Professor Day with a gift in his memory at JWU’s Office of Advancement provides the opportunity to honor a loved one with a tribute gift, including memorial bricks, benches and trees (  

William Day directed his giving towards his passion for the hospitality program. Through oneJWU: 24 Hours of Giving, community members can support the area of JWU that matters most to them.

JWU will celebrate its annual day of giving on Tuesday, March 16. When 1,000 donors make gifts of any size to any area of the university, an additional $10,000 in challenge funds — courtesy of Chancellor Mim L. Runey, LP.D. — will be unlocked. All donors count and no gift is too small. “Together, our collective impact will enhance the JWU experience for all students,” says Dumas. As Emma Nanfan and her classmates still contend with the financial fallout of a pandemic, alumni, staff, and faculty are encouraged to support the area of JWU they are most passionate about on March 16, or make an “early bird” gift to help get things started. “To help spread the word about oneJWU and encourage participation far and wide, please consider becoming a oneJWU Champion,” Dumas adds.

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