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Montana Tech nursing program receives record-breaking $7 million donation

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 23:34:58-04

BUTTE — Montana Tech’s nursing department received such a large donation that the figure nearly got stuck in Chancellor Les Cook’s throat.

“The largest in the history of Montana Tech’s history of $7 million for our nursing program,” said Cook.

Dave and Sherry Lesar made the donation that will expand staffing in the nursing department and help in the development of the new nursing simulation lab that’s being named after the couple.

Sherry Lesar said she wants to help Montanans receive the best healthcare and that she comes from a family of medical professionals.

“Nursing is not only a profession, it’s a calling. Good nurses don’t become good by accident,” said Lesar.

For two nursing students, nursing runs in the family. One’s great-grandmother served as a nurse in World War II.

“I’m thinking of going into the Navy after I graduate just to take care of veterans and take care of active-duty members just because they gave so much freedom for me, just by fighting for our country that I’ll do anything I can to give back to them,” said nursing student Madison Dunlap of Helena.

MacKenzie’s grandmother also worked as a nurse and her grandmother will get to see her graduate.

“And to see me graduate in the spring and be able to carry on in her footsteps and be able to help people like she did, I think it will be very emotional for both of us,” said nursing student MacKenzie Koetter of Arlee.

The simulation labs will give these nursing students something hands-on to work with, so they’re prepared when they go into the real world.

“You can watch what your classmates are doing and what you’re doing so you can learn from past experiences without risking a life and be able to care for the baby better each time you do it,” said Koetter.