Barbara and Donald Jonas Honored at Columbia Nursing’s 125th Anniversary Gala

Mark T. Bertolini, Barbara and Donald Jonas, and Marjorie Harrison Fleming, Honored

(New York, NY: Wednesday, October 18, 2017) Marking its 125-year legacy as a leader in nursing education, research, and practice, Columbia Nursing held its “Building the Future” Gala on Tuesday October 17, at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The celebration came at an auspicious time as the school also opened its new building, a state-of-the-art facility that will prepare future generations of nurse scientists, scholars, educators, clinicians and policy makers to meet the needs of a changing society and healthcare system. In keeping with its mission and commitment to advancing nursing education and to its students, Columbia Nursing will direct all gala proceeds to support student scholarships.

The gala honored these individuals for their dedication to nursing excellence and to improving health:

  • Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman and CEO, Aetna, was recognized for his innovative leadership in the health care industry. Bertolini was among the top ten of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2017 for promoting measures that increase access, lower costs, and improve quality of care.
  • Barbara and Donald Jonas, co-founders of the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, and of the Barbara & Donald Jonas Family Fund, were recognized for their profound impact on nursing philanthropy. Dedicated to improving healthcare, Barbara and Donald Jonas have directed their philanthropic giving toward nursing, veterans’ healthcare, children’s environmental health, and low vision and blindness.
  • Columbia Nursing alumna Marjorie Harrison Fleming ’69, was recognized for her long-standing volunteer leadership. Fleming, who chairs the school’s Board of Visitors, was a founding member and first president of the school’s Alumni Association, and is a recipient of the Columbia Alumni Medal.

“As we celebrate our 125-year heritage of leadership and academic excellence, we are thrilled to recognize the extraordinary contributions these individuals have made, and continue to make, to the future of health care and the future of nursing,” said Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, dean of Columbia University School of Nursing.

The school’s new building at 168th Street and Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights, with its two level, 16,000-square-foot, high-tech Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center, embodies its commitment to remaining at the forefront of nursing education. The school also operates a primary care faculty practice, the Nurse Practitioner Group, which serves Midtown Manhattan, Morningside Heights, 2 and the school’s Washington Heights community. As part of a major academic medical center, Columbia Nursing pursues interdisciplinary studies that address critical issues encountered by health care professionals every day, from the prevention of disease to the delivery of care. Its graduates conduct cutting edge research, teach, provide primary and specialized care, manage health teams, set health policy, lead major health care institutions, and serve in the military.

Columbia University School of Nursing is part of the Columbia University Medical Center, which also includes the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine. With more than 100 full-time faculty and 600 students, the School of Nursing is dedicated to educating the next generation of nurse leaders in education, research, and clinical care.

The school has pioneered advanced practice nursing curricula and continues to define the role of nursing, and nursing research, through its PhD. program, which prepares nurse scientists, and its doctor of nursing practice (DNP), one of the first clinical practice doctorate programs in the nation. Among the clinical practice areas shaped by the school’s research are the reduction of infectious disease and the use of health care informatics to improve health and health care. The school was the first to award a master’s degree in a clinical specialty and houses the nation’s oldest continuous program in nurse midwifery. It also operates a primary care faculty practice, the Nurse Practitioner Group, which serves Midtown Manhattan, Morningside Heights, and the school’s Washington Heights community. For more information, please visit:

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit or