Germanna Community College has received a $1.5 million gift from lifelong Fredericksburg resident and former Germanna Foundation board member Mary Jane O’Neill to help establish a new medical campus in Locust Grove.

The new building on the Locust Grove campus is to be named for former Germanna president Frank Turnage—who retired in 2007 and passed away last year—and his wife, Nancy. A portion of the new Locust Grove building, which is projected to open in July 2022 and will replace the existing building, will be named the Robert C. O’Neill Wellness Clinic after O’Neill’s late husband.

Michael Zitz, Germanna’s special assistant to the president for media relations and public affairs, said the clinic will be open to students and the community.

The grant will also help expand Germanna’s nursing and health sciences program at the Barbara J. Fried Center in Stafford County, which opened last year. Zitz said more specifics about this expansion are upcoming.

The announcement of the name, which came at an event Wednesday evening at Ristorante Renato, was a surprise to Nancy Turnage. According to a press release from Germanna, the community college’s nursing program was important to the Turnages.

“The nursing program saved Germanna more than once,” Frank Turnage said in 2017, referring to a period in the 1970s when low enrollment might have led to the college closing, the press release states.

O’Neill said she credits Turnage with encouraging her and her late husband Bob to become involved with Germanna.

“Frank talked Bob into being on the College Board and later on the Foundation Board,” she said. “We really believe in community college education and really enjoyed being part of that. When [Bob] retired, he stayed active at the college and Frank and Nancy became really good friends.”

“Nursing is so important—and there’s a nursing shortage,” O’Neill added.

“We should never stop celebrating the good contributions and goodness that went before us,” Germanna President Janet Gullickson said. “Tonight we celebrate the good of the past through Bob and Frank; the good of the present through Mary Jane; and the good that will come after us through the contributions of Germanna students.”

Adele Uphaus-Conner:

540/735-1973

auphaus@freelancestar.com

@flsadele

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