More than $700,000 in renovations at the UofL School of Nursing will help enhance the education of future nurses and other health care workers, thanks to $600,000 in financial support from The Gheens Foundation, along with additional funds from an anonymous donor. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 19 marked the official opening of the second-floor renovated classrooms.
These generous gifts from The Gheens Foundation and an anonymous donor were used for renovations and upgrades to the classrooms that make UofL’s School of Nursing a competitive destination for students. With nearly 1,000 students across multiple degree programs ranging from undergraduate to graduate programs, students at all levels benefit from the newly renovated space.
“Thank you to our partners, The Gheens Foundation and an anonymous donor, for investing in UofL’s School of Nursing and our community’s next generation of nursing leaders,” said UofL President Kim Schatzel. “We want to attract the best students and provide them with an unrivaled nursing education environment so they are prepared to face today’s health care challenges.”
School of Nursing Interim Dean Mary DeLetter said faculty and students are thankful for the needed updates.
“With changes ranging from noise reduction and brightened teaching and learning spaces, to modern technology for teaching and learning, the positive and ultramodern environment allows students to focus on the didactic learning that immediately supports their clinical experiences and ultimately, strengthens their readiness to practice,” DeLetter said.
“The very existence of the Gheens Foundation is a testament to the love and generosity its co-founders, the late Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens, had for the citizens and the institutions of this community. I am confident they would be most pleased with the trustees’ decision to support the vital mission of the School of Nursing in a manner that will attract, recruit and educate nurses for generations to come,” said Barry G. Allen, president and treasurer of The Gheens Foundation, Inc.
Additionally, numerous private donors have been extremely generous in supporting the School of Nursing, including an anonymous donor who contributed to renovating multiple classrooms over the past few years.
As part of the celebration, Room 2022 was dedicated in honor of Flora McGuire Ponder, who, in 1954, was one of the first African American students to enroll in the Louisville General Hospital School of Nursing – a precursor to the UofL School of Nursing. Ponder helped establish and served as director of nurses at the Park-DuValle Community Health Center. She also assisted in establishing the first emergency transportation service into what is now the Louisville EMS Service. Ponder and other Louisville General Hospital graduates have been recognized as adopted alumni of the UofL School of Nursing.
The School of Nursing graduates the highest number of bachelor’s-prepared nurses in Kentucky and is the only nursing school in the region that is part of a long-standing health sciences center.
Watch a video of the ribbon-cutting press conference: