Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - It was a huge tent full of Bobcats in the middle of Griz country on Friday, as MSU President Waded Cruzado and a host of officials broke ground on the new MSU Nursing School, thanks to a $101 million donation from Mark and Robyn Jones of Whitefish.

MSU School of Nursing School Dean Sarah Shannon greeted the crowd, dressed mostly in Bobcat blue.

Missoula was 'Bobcat Blue' for the Groundbreaking of the MSU School of Nursing

“Today we are breaking ground for a new building dedicated to the education of our future Bobcat nurses,” began Dean Shannon. “This is going to be a building that will allow us to increase enrollment producing more nurses to meet the needs of the Missoula community and beyond. This will be a modern educational facility with active learning classrooms, a state-of-the-art simulation center, and places for students to study quietly…or not so quietly.”

Shannon said Mark and Robyn Jones were seeking a way to impact the most people going forward.

“These are people who wanted to do something that would impact the well-being and health of all Montanans, and when they asked, ‘what would that be?’ “They talked with President Cruzado about what could that be and they decided that nurses were the way to impact all Montanans.”

President Cruzado brought the House Down with a Humorous Story

Playing to the mostly MSU Bobcat crowd attending the groundbreaking, President Cruzado brought the house down with her answer to Mr. and Mrs. Jones when they decided to fund all of the proposed MSU Nursing School facilities, except the one in Missoula.

“Mark is sitting at the head of the table and Robin is sitting on the opposite side,” she said. “I said we're very grateful for their generosity but I told him, Mark, you understand don’t you that if we do not fund a building for Missoula, no one will believe this was not my idea (laughter).”

President Cruzado got serious when she described how the new MSU Nursing School campus in Missoula would affect Montanans into the future.

READ MORE: Missoula Nurse Negotiations Continue Mid Health Worker Shortage

President Cruzado Looked Forward to Improving Health Care in Montana

“Montana State University Bobcat nurses who emerge from this building will care for your neighbors, for your babies, for your loved ones and for you,” she said. “MSU nursing graduates will improve health care in your community and our entire state. These healers will touch countless lives in deeply meaningful ways with their education, compassion, and expertise.”

Several of the dignitaries present then symbolically broke ground with shovels in a large pile of dirt.

The new school will be called the Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing Missoula campus.

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