Methodist University President Stanley T. Wearden announced on Thursday that the Methodist University Cape Fear Valley Health School of Medicine has received a $1-million gift from Norwood Bryan Jr., a long-time friend and donor to the University and business executive, community leader and public servant in Fayetteville, the region, and state.
Methodist University President Stanley T. Wearden announced on Thursday that the Methodist University Cape Fear Valley Health School of Medicine has received a $1-million gift from Norwood Bryan Jr., a long-time friend and donor to the University and business executive, community leader and public servant in Fayetteville, the region, and state. The gift is foundational in establishing a state-of-the-art medical school that will train the next generation of health care professionals.
“Norwood Bryan’s gift is an act of extraordinary and selfless generosity,” said Wearden. “I have great respect for Mr. Bryan as one of Fayetteville’s most inspiring success stories and as a genuine servant leader in the community. His $1-million gift to the medical school is a true legacy gift.”
In February of this year, Wearden and Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski held a press conference at the McLean Health Science Building on the MU campus and announced the partnership to form a Methodist University medical school. The new medical school, to be located on the campus of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, will combine the expertise and resources of both institutions to provide students with unparalleled educational and clinical experiences. The name of the medical school was chosen to recognize and honor Cape Fear Valley Health’s remarkable pledge of long-term financial support.
“Mr. Bryan’s generosity gives us an exceptional boost in getting the medical school started, and it also will help the medical school successfully thrive for many years to come,” said Wearden. “I am personally grateful to Mr. Bryan, as is the entire Methodist University community.”
The key goals of MU’s medical education program, which currently holds applicant status with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and hopes to have its first class of M.D. students in 2026, are to educate a diverse population of expertly trained medical doctors attentive to the needs of rural and underserved populations, and to become a national leader in interprofessional, team-based medical education.
“I am glad to support this remarkable project that will bring extraordinary benefits to the Fayetteville area,” said Bryan. “I encourage others to put their oar in the water at this stage of the campaign.”
By the mid-1970s, Bryan had graduated from the Yale Law School, re-created the automobile dealership his father started in 1945, and become president of Bryan Pontiac-Cadillac-Honda Co., leaving behind a four-term public service post in the North Carolina General Assembly. Bryan has served his community in many capacities, including as trustee of the North Carolina Environmental Defense Fund, sponsor for the Museum of the Cape Fear Complex, chairman of the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Commission, and he has held numerous offices in the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association including state president. For his efforts, Bryan was named Business Person of the Year by MU in 2002.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Norwood Bryan Jr., a generous long-time Methodist University friend and donor, for his $1-million gift towards the creation of our medical school in Fayetteville,” said Nagowski. “His support aligns perfectly with our mission to provide exceptional healthcare as well as our value of education, which enables us to make a lasting impact on our community’s well-being.”
MU is already a top university in the region for higher education in the health sciences, with state-of-the-art facilities on campus that include a general simulation hospital, human anatomy lab, motion analysis lab, and several other labs and facilities housing Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, and other programs.
Since 1997, the master’s-level Physician Assistant Program has established itself as one of the top programs of its kind in the country, garnering hundreds of applications nationwide for its 40-seat cohorts.
The MU Nursing Program offers a pre-licensure BSN and graduate programs for working nurses interested in administration. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has established a track record of high student performance. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program was the first fully accredited, entry-level doctoral program in occupational therapy in the state of North Carolina, and a bachelor’s-level program training occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) began enrolling students in Fall 2023. Additionally, MU offers a selection of health care degrees online for students who are looking for a more flexible option.
“This is an incredible beginning of our journey to bring a medical school to this community,” said Dr. Rakesh Gupta, chair of the MU Board of Trustees. “I wish to express my deep gratitude to Mr. Norwood Bryan for his very thoughtful and generous gift to Methodist University. It is truly inspirational.”