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OU College of Nursing to Launch Centennial Celebration April 5

jc/3-29-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

OKLAHOMA CITY – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren and OU College of Nursing Dean Lazelle Benefield will offer remarks at a ceremony Tuesday, April 5, launching the College of Nursing’s Centennial celebration. The public is invited to attend the event, which will begin at 4 p.m. in the atrium of the College of Nursing Building, 1100 N. Stonewall, at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

The OU College of Nursing’s yearlong Centennial celebration will include events April 7, in Tulsa and May 24,  in Oklahoma City as well as an event in Lawton June 9; a Centennial Celebration and Reunion in the fall; and a fundraising campaign.

OU President David L. Boren said, “As the OU College of Nursing celebrates its first 100 years, the university is deeply proud of the difference which our graduates have made in the lives of others. As we look forward to the future, the need for great nurses has never been greater. It is urgent for our entire society for nursing education to receive the resources necessary to meet this challenge.”

 “I am delighted to celebrate 100 years of OU Nursing excellence!” said OU College of Nursing Dean Lazelle E. Benefield. “OU nurses span the globe, providing leadership to positively influence the health of Oklahomans and beyond. More than 8,500 nurses call OU College of Nursing their alma mater, and we look forward to celebrating their success in this centennial year.”

The theme of the College of Nursing’s Centennial celebration is “The Power of 100,” which refers both to the college’s first 100 years of teaching, research and service excellence and the fundraising campaign, in which the college’s alumni are being asked to consider the “power of 100” by making a gift to the college.

In addition to bringing alumni and friends to campus for various activities, alumni have been asked to share memories of their days as an OU nursing student and their current leadership roles; those stories are being posted on the college website at www.nursing.ouhsc.edu. Profiles of alumni, as well as current OU nursing students and faculty, also are being featured throughout the year in different college publications and other communications.

OU’s nursing program was established in 1911 as a certificate program affiliated with University Hospital.  The first bachelor’s degrees were presented in 1955, and in 1971, the nursing school was elevated to college status.

OU has the largest nursing program in the state, with the largest variety of pathways to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The college has campuses in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton as well as outreach sites in Ada, Ardmore, Duncan, Enid, Woodward, Grove, Hugo, McAlester, Poteau and Talihina.

In response to the nationwide shortage of nurses, especially in rural areas, the OU College of Nursing has in recent years extended its outreach to rural areas of the state, enabling  students to earn their bachelor’s degrees without leaving their communities, in hopes that many of these graduates will remain in those communities to practice nursing.

Recognizing that the need for nursing will become even greater as the nation’s baby boomers become seniors, the college has also placed a new emphasis on geriatric care. In 2008, the college was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to create the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. The focus of the center is to increase the number of highly qualified new and existing faculty with expertise in geriatrics who will provide academic leadership in geriatric nursing in Oklahoma, with an emphasis on successful community-based aging services.

A leader in bringing graduate nursing education to Oklahoma since 1973, the college in 2008 added the state’s first PhD in nursing program. The college recently received approval and funding to launch a doctor of nursing practice program, and the first students will be admitted this summer. The OU College of Nursing also offers the only nurse practitioner program in the state.

The college has twice been designated as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing.

For more information about the OU College of Nursing and its Centennial celebration, visit http://nursing.ouhsc.edu/.  For more information about the event, and for accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the OU Office of Special Events at (405) 325-3784.

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