Marion Knott was a force of nature. She not only witnessed tremendous change take place in Orange
County, she actively fostered its becoming an epicenter of healthcare, technology, the arts and business. With those changes came new challenges. According to those who knew her, Marion was not afraid to take a leadership role to find sensible and far-reaching solutions.
Although Marion passed away at the age of 92 in November 2014, she touched the lives of many. Through her deep commitment to education, she’s created advancement opportunities for thousands of nurses through the Marion Knott Nursing Education Center at Hoag.
Passion for Education
In 2005, when Marion first learned of the statewide nursing shortage and severe cutbacks on nursing education, she made a $700,000 founding donation to support the Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag initiative at Hoag.
“When I began hearing that there was such a long waiting list for students and so few could get into nursing school, it just seemed there was a better way,” Marion said in a news release. “I think Hoag has the better way, and I find it very reassuring that Hoag has the vision to open a Nursing Education Center that will be state-of-the-art for the ongoing training and education of nurses.”
Doug Meece, current chair of the Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag committee, worked closely with Marion and considered her a very dear friend. “As a child from a farming family, who lived the hardship of the Great Depression, education was one of her passions,” he remembers. “Marion held a very strong belief in helping the less fortunate receive an education.”
True to form, Marion challenged donors to match her founding gift dollar-for-dollar. She was a woman who believed everyone should pitch in and do their part. Hoag’s family of donors and members of the community responded enthusiastically to Marion’s challenge.
In 2007, the Marion Knott Nursing Education Center opened to provide Hoag nurses with advanced facilities to enhance their knowledge of health care best practices. It’s the only one of its kind in Southern California designed specifically for continuing nursing education including orientation programs, student clinical rotations and licensure and career advancement classes.
While Marion would have been content to remain behind the scenes, Doug encouraged her to allow Hoag to name the education center in her honor. “I distinctly remember at the grand opening that Marion took a huge amount of pride in the center,” he said. “She preferred to do things quietly; but when we told her how much it would mean to the nurses and donors to be associated with her name, she gave in.”
Blueprint for Ongoing Excellence
The Marion Knott Nursing Education Center has played a significant role in Hoag’s achievements, most recently in its third consecutive Magnet® re-designation which recognizes excellence in nursing by the American Nursing Credentialing Center. Currently, nearly 50 percent of Hoag nurses hold a BSN or higher. However, to maintain the elite Magnet® status, eighty percent of Hoag’s nurses will need to hold a BSN or higher by the year 2020.
The Marion Knott Nursing Education Center, supported by the continuing generosity of donors, will help achieve that goal. Busy Hoag nurses have the opportunity to complete required BSN classes on-site at the Marion Knott Education Center through a partnership with California State University Long Beach (CSULB) and Vanguard University of Southern California. Those pursuing the higher degrees - MSN, MSN-Nurse Practitioner or higher - can also complete CSULB classes at the Center.
“Hoag’s commitment to nursing is very costly and must be supported by philanthropy to sustain Marion’s vision for providing advanced training for nurses throughout Orange County,” said Rick Martin, Ed.D., M.S.N., R.N., senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Hoag. “Marion’s generosity laid the foundation, and her generosity continues to inspire support for Hoag nursing education’s growth and development.”
Although Marion’s passing has left a void in the community, all who knew her are proud that her legacy at Hoag thrives with each and every Hoag nurse who passes through the education center that bears her name.
Rick adds, “Marion believed wholeheartedly in our nurses, and her can-do spirit lives on at Hoag.”
If you would like more information on how you can help Hoag’s nurses, contact Hoag Hospital Foundation at (949) 764-7217.