Nursing Department Hosts Reunion to Celebrate Valencia’s 50th Anniversary

Caption: Valerie Harris and Kathy White Strickler, classmates from Valencia’s first nursing graduating class in 1973, embrace in a hug as they are reunited.

By Rise Sandrowitz, Dean, Nursing

As the College celebrates its 50th anniversary, this year has been particularly exciting for the Nursing department. In honor of the College’s anniversary, during National Nurses’ Week, Saturday, May 6 – Friday, May 12, 2017, the Nursing department held a reunion of some of our early graduates.

Nursing is one of the oldest programs at Valencia, admitting our first class of 44 students in 1971. With the help of the Alumni Association and the Valencia Foundation, we were able to track down graduates from our first two cohorts, 1973 and 1974. We invited everyone we could find.

At the celebration, two women from the class of 1973 were reunited for the first time in years. We showed a PowerPoint presentation of pictures and memorabilia we found in scrapbooks from the 1970s and 1980s.

Hal White, one of our early deans, shared memories about the good old days. Distinguished graduate, Kathy Black, currently chief nursing officer at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, shared her journey from Valencia to her current role.

It was a great way to celebrate Valencia and nursing. Many of our current faculty are graduates of the Associate in Science program and thoroughly enjoyed the event.

To add excitement to the year, the Florida Department of Education has approved offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program at Valencia. Work on this degree has been in progress for years, and now, with the formation of a consortium with Seminole State College and Lake Sumter State College, the program will be a reality.

Awaiting Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approval, we anticipate the start of the almost entirely online program in 2018. In addition, at the request of our hospital partners, the nursing program will be doubling our Associate in Science admissions in the next three to five years and is accepting qualified students for January 2018.

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