College of Nursing and Health Professions addition dedicated

Lewis University dedicates new College of Nursing and Health Professions facilities

Published: May 7, 2010.

(From left to right) Ken Osmun, Robert
DeRose, Harry Chan, Dr. Peggy Rice,
Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Dr. Stephany
Schlachter, Elaine Ruettiger, Laura
Kirman, Joel Stava and Pat Cermak

Lewis University dedicated a multi-phased addition and renovations to the College of Nursing and Health Professions on Wednesday, May 5 on the Romeoville main campus. The construction and renovations provide new space, additional classrooms, renovated faculty offices, hospital-style labs, a reception area, and lounge space for student gatherings.

Expansion of the facilities will allow Lewis to enroll additional students into its Nursing and Healthcare programs. Lewis currently is the largest undergraduate nursing program in the State of Illinois. An anonymous donation of $500,000 contributed to the $1.3 million project.

“Recent transformation to the facility is only a physical sign of the positive strides on the academic side,” commented Dr. Peggy Rice, Dean. She told those attending the ceremony that the Lewis University College of Nursing and Health Professions continually creates capable and compassionate healthcare professionals ready to tackle the challenges of the industry. Its alumni hold top executive positions in a variety of settings, and work to meet the needs of patients at every level of care, she said.

The strong demand for nurses in by the Illinois workforce was emphasized in remarks by Jay Bergman, member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He pointed out that Lewis has the largest undergraduate nursing program in the state and encouraged the Lewis University to continue to make progress in developing tomorrow’s leaders in healthcare. “Thank you for your leadership in offering training to students in our area of greatest need,” he said.

Wight & Company designed and constructed the 1,400-square-feet addition and 3,000 square-feet of renovated area, including several areas to accommodate further learning and new gathering spaces for students. Two skylights and the large windows that occupy three of the entry walls provide natural light in the spacious area with an 11-foot-high ceiling. The terrazzo floor at the entrance features a College of Nursing and Health Professions seal in the center. An elevator tower was added and handicapped access enhanced at the renovated west entrance to the College.

Lewis University staff collaborated with Wight & Co., by completing most of the renovations and some of the preparatory work for the construction project. Work will continue this summer on renovation of faculty offices on the ground level of South Hall where the College is located.

During the Dedication ceremony, Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, said, “Today is a grand occasion. It is an opportunity for offering thanks and praise for this splendid facility for our nursing faculty and students, as well as for recommitting to the ongoing provision by Lewis University of excellent educational opportunities, including nursing education. Our nursing programs are meant to prepare ethical, competent and socially responsible graduates to further transform healthcare and our society.”

Following a welcome by Dr. Rice, Mary-Beth Desmond of Darien, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) student, offered an invocation, and later Brother Philip Johnson, FSC, Director of University Ministry, provided the Dedication blessing, assisted by Dr. Rice, Professor Maureen Moore and student Lexi Neulieb of Geneseo, Ill.

Several representatives of those involved in the project participated in the ceremonial ribbon cutting, including: Brother James; Dr. Stephany Schlachter of Lemont, Provost; Board of Trustee members Joel Stava of Naperville and Elaine Ruettiger of New Lenox; Dr. Rice of Downers Grove; Robert DeRose of Naperville, Vice President of Business and Facilities; Patrick Cermak, president of Wight & Company; Kenneth Osmun, group president of Wight & Company; Laura Kirman, RN of Morris, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN) program at Lewis; and Harry Chan of Chicago, BSN student.

“This is a building where nursing students can master some very complex skills under the guidance of excellent faculty, but it is also a building which through its design encourages students to learn from one another. It’s built into the space. It provides multiple spaces for students to work in teams, share their ideas, congregate and support each other as they learn both the important science and art of nursing as well. This is also a place that prepares nurses to serve the surrounding community, the state of Illinois and the nation,” said Dr. Stephany Schlachter, Provost, during closing remarks.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). College of Nursing and Health Professions faculty promote Lasallian and Catholic values and the curricula and experiences integrate the concepts of person, health, environment and the healthcare professional.

A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The ninth largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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