Keffers’ confidence in Manchester boosts nursing

Adam Fischer, simulation and laboratory coordinator for the Manchester University Nursing Program, talks with Dr. Jan Keffer and Dr. Harry Keffer ’59 at the dedication of the Keffer Nursing Lab in the Science Center. The Keffers provided nursing labs on both campuses as well as scholarships for Manchester’s new nursing program.

Retired health care professionals provide scholarships, labs on both campuses

Many great things happen at Manchester, but not without champions.

For MU’s young nursing program, Dr. Harry Keffer ’59 and Dr. Jan Keffer are those champions. 

The Keffers were on the North Manchester campus Oct. 14 to help dedicate the Keffer Nursing Lab in the Science Center. Retired health care professionals, the Keffers also provided MU’s nursing lab in Fort Wayne and scholarships to Manchester’s first nursing students.

“We are grateful to Harry and Jan for many things,” President Dave McFadden ’82 said at the dedication. In addition to financial support for the labs and scholarships for students, “We appreciate your confidence in us,” he told the couple. “We are appreciative of your commitment, which is our commitment, to graduating students who will improve the human condition, who will help people be healthy and whole.”

Dr. Lea Johnson, vice president for health science initiatives and dean of health professions, said the Keffers shared her vision for nursing education from the start.


Dr. Lea Johnson (center), vice president for
health science initiatives, poses with Dr. Harry Keffer ’59 and Dr. Jan Keffer at the dedication
of the Keffer Nursing Lab in the Science Center.

“You have opened your hearts to our program. I know you really want to help our students and you want Manchester’s nursing program to be a success. And I promise you, it will be,” Johnson told the Keffers. “A new chapter of your health care legacy is just beginning and will continue at Manchester for many years to come.”


After graduating from Northwestern University School of Medicine, Harry Keffer served in a medical group of the U.S. Air Force. During a more than three-decade relationship with Terre Haute’s Union Hospital, he was chief of staff, chief of anesthesiology and chief of surgery. He also taught at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine in Terre Haute.

Dr. Jan Keffer earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University (ISU), a master’s degree from IU and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout her clinical career as a primary health care adult nurse practitioner, she developed numerous nursing and nursing ethics courses. She taught at ISU, IU School of Medicine and IU in Indianapolis, including at the IU Center for Bioethics.

“It is our privilege to help support Manchester and this program and to move it forward,” Jan Keffer said. “We believe strongly in paying forward.”

This is the first year for both nursing degree tracks at Manchester.

Traditional students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree will use the Keffer Nursing Lab in the Science Center. They will study the first two years in North Manchester and the second two years in Fort Wayne, which offers a wide range of clinical opportunities.

MU’s 16-month Accelerated BSN Second Degree Program is for students with a bachelor’s degree in another field who would like to become a registered nurse. Full time and in person, the program has classrooms and a nursing lab in the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. The Mirro Center is on the campus of Parkview North hospital, which is next door to Manchester’s Fort Wayne campus.

McFadden said that a nursing program at Manchester has been discussed for many years. The University already offers Doctor of Pharmacy, Master of Athletic Training, and Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics degrees, and it is developing programs in nutrition sciences, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

They all build on Manchester’s traditional strengths in the natural sciences, he added. “As a regional university, our focus is on understanding the needs of our neighbors and serving those needs through the programs that we offer. With nursing, specifically, we aim to be patient-centered and understand health to be holistic rather than a set of clinical disciplines. That’s all in the spirit of Manchester University.”