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Methodist University gets $1 million gift to support new School of Medicine

Partnership with Cape Fear Valley Health will address health care needs in region

Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski, left, and Methodist University President Stanley T. Wearden speak during February's announcement of a proposed medical school.
Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski, left, and Methodist University President Stanley T. Wearden speak during February's announcement of a proposed medical school.
Methodist University photo

A former state legislator and owner of a Fayetteville automotive dealership has donated $1 million to support the planned school of medicine at Methodist University, the university announced Thursday.

University President Stanley T. Wearden said Norwood Bryan Jr. made the gift to support the Methodist University Cape Fear Valley Health School of Medicine. Bryan is a longtime donor to Methodist, according to a news release.

“Norwood Bryan’s gift is an act of extraordinary and selfless generosity,” Wearden said. “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.”  

In February, Wearden and Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski announced a partnership to open a medical school on the campus of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

“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.

The medical school hopes to have its first class of students in 2026, the news release said. 

“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 assumed leadership of the automobile dealership his father started in 1945, Bryan Pontiac-Cadillac-Honda Co. He served four terms in the North Carolina General Assembly.

His community service includes being a trustee of the North Carolina Environmental Defense Fund, sponsor of the Museum of the Cape Fear Complex, and chairman of the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission. He was named Business Person of the Year by Methodist University in 2002.    

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Norwood Bryan Jr., a generous and longtime Methodist University friend and donor, for his $1 million gift toward the creation of our medical school in Fayetteville,” said Cape Fear Valley Health’s Nagowski. “His support aligns perfectly with our mission to provide exceptional health care as well as our value of education, which enables us to make a lasting impact on our community’s well-being.”  

Health sciences programs at Methodist include physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing studies, the release said.

The university offers a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health care administration.  

“This is an incredible beginning of our journey to bring a medical school to this community,” said Rakesh Gupta, chair of the university’s 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.”

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Fayetteville, Methodist University, Cape Fear Valley Health, medical school, doctors