Since 1851, Carson-Newman has helped students reach their full potential as educated citizens and worldwide servant-leaders. The Acorns to Oaks campaign, which launches with the addition of the Drama and Ted Russell Center, is an important next step to further our mission and answer the desperate need for well-trained healthcare leaders. We hope you’ll accept this invitation to join us on this journey.

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system.

Without them, the threats to your health – and the health of the entire community – grow unchecked. But there’s a problem.

The health needs of East Tennessee are surging faster than the number of qualified nursing staff can meet.

Nursing shortage statistics today reveal that the United States is facing significant gaps in nurse staffing, not only today, but for decades to come. 

The aging population entering our healthcare system with ever more complex healthcare needs far surpass the number of new nurses entering the system. By 2030, the nursing shortage is expected to increase by 24.8%, meaning that 3.6 million nurses will be needed in the near future.

The answer to tomorrow’s needs begins today.

Various reports show the urgency of getting more quality, servant-leaders into the healthcare field.

For 170 years, Carson-Newman University has sought to be the Christian liberal arts-based university of choice in the Southeast for education and service. Based on the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to respond to the most pressing needs of our community.

The Drama and Ted Russell Center is an opportunity to pursue God’s preferred future for East Tennessee and nursing professionals.


The Drama and Ted Russell Center is the focal point of Carson-Newman University’s response to the call from our community and the nation.

One of the driving factors in the national nursing shortage is that too many baccalaureate and graduate nursing applicants are being turned away for a lack of budget, equipment, and facilities. With so many applicants being turned away, this means the number of graduates available to enter the nursing field are too few. 

The Drama and Ted Russell Center meets this need head-on by providing instructional facilities necessary for:

  • BS Nursing (Traditional and Accelerated Programs)
  • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • MSN – Nurse Educator
  • Post – Master’s Certification: FNP
  • DNP – Doctorate of Nursing Practice (launching fall 2021)

The Drama and Ted Russell Center is one step in the Acorn to Oaks campaign, a strategic plan designed to answer the educational challenges of the 21st century.

Master Plan

With new classrooms, laboratories, and lecture halls — all equipped with the latest medical training technology — Carson-Newman’s nursing program will be able to receive more nursing applicants than ever before.

The Center is dedicated to the health science programs, providing students and faculty with three stories of state-of-the-art educational facilities. At 48,000 square feet, the Drama and Ted Russell Center will house…

  • 12 classrooms
  • 16 faculty offices
  • Administration suite with conference room, faculty workroom, and open office space
  • 2 simulation labs with 10 hospital beds total
  • 2 general skills labs
  • 4 health assessment labs
  • Foodservice on the first level
  • Multiple student lounges and
    collaboration areas
  • Covered outdoor terrace

Adjacent to the historic campus quad, the Drama and Ted Russell Center will promote the excellence and expansion of the nursing program.

This health sciences building will be more than a practical structure. It will be the new home of Carson-Newman’s nursing and health programs. This is where students will grow to be future healthcare professionals carrying the torch of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

Carson-Newman Nursing Department


The Drama and Ted Russell Center shows how a seed of faith can grow into big things.

As a Carson-Newman graduate (Class of ‘62,‘10), Dr. Ted Russell, along with his wife Drama, share the vision of the Acorn to Oaks initiative. For the Russells, their leadership gift towards the new health sciences building is a seed sown in faith to produce future graduates who are educated citizens and worldwide servant-leaders.

Lifelong residents of the East Tennessee area, the Russells’  commitment to the healthcare needs of the community is shown in their generous contribution to the Drama and Ted Russell Center. 

Oaks are not grown in a day. Facing this health crisis requires visionary generosity that invests in today’s students so they may become the healthcare leaders of tomorrow.

It is in this same visionary spirit that…

You are invited to join the effort to pursue God's preferred future.

As you witness the beginnings of this new academic facility, you are invited to see how you can help pursue God's preferred future for East Tennessee and the lives of Carson-Newman graduates.

Help finish construction of the Drama and Ted Russell Center and train the new generation of healthcare workers.

Make a Gift

Leave a Legacy of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

As you support this great effort to impact the health of families across the nation, you also are invited to consider leaving a legacy for future generations to follow. 

Multiple naming opportunities are available for supporters who wish to inspire others to study and participate in the great Christian intellectual tradition at Carson-Newman.


Naming Gifts

School of Nursing   1   $2,500,000
Floors   3   $500,000
Simulation Labs   2   $350,000
General Skills Labs   2   $175,000
Health Assessment Labs   4   $125,000
Administrative Suite   1   $100,000
Student Lounges   2   $75,000
Third Floor Terrace   1   $75,000
Classrooms   12   $50,000
Offices     16     $30,000

Pursuing God’s preferred future with you.

Thank you for being a part of the launch of this bold, new initiative, Acorn to Oaks.

Your presence, prayers, and generous support mean that more educated citizens and worldwide servant-leaders can be shaped here at Carson-Newman for the glory of God.