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President Henry’s Opening Remarks

I am pleased to open this edition of Friday Forum with good news about new resources to complete the third floor of Kramer School of Nursing. We have been working for several months to raise $2 million to complete the building, and we have now been chosen to receive a $250,000 challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation. The grant brings total funding for the project to about $1.6 million, putting us close to our goal. We look to complete fundraising in the next few months and begin construction in time to finish the space for classes next year.

We are grateful the Mabee Foundation has chosen to challenge Oklahoma City University and the Kramer School of Nursing with this opportunity. The Mabee Foundation has been a significant investor in our nursing program since the original nursing building was built on our campus, contributing to the construction of KSN west and east before this latest grant.

We look forward to having expanded space at KSN to accommodate record numbers of students as a result of the tremendous recruitment and retention efforts at work.

The Kramer School of Nursing is also excelling in connecting students and graduates with employers. OCU KSN graduates are employed within one month of graduation!

I asked Dean Marvel Williamson to join me for this week’s forum and report on other exciting happenings at KSN. Here’s what Dean Williamson has to say; I hope you are as inspired as I am about these positive developments.

Dean Marvel Williamson’s Friday Forum

Kramer School of Nursing has enjoyed an astonishing rise in quality, reputation, and growth over the last ten years. Our faculty are being tapped for state and national posts, and our alumni are among the most sought after around the world. As the premier private nursing school in the seven-state region and high national ranking among both private and public schools with graduate nursing programs, KSN is enhancing the prestige of Oklahoma City University.

The success in fund raising for completion of the third floor of Nursing School East comes just in time for OCU and the nation. The Affordable Care Act recently upheld by the US Supreme Court gives over 32 million Americans new access to health care, placing a tremendous burden on an understaffed health care workforce, with the greatest demands coming for family physicians and family nurse practitioners.

According to the US Department of Labor forecast announced in February, the number one market for job growth through 2020 will be for Registered Nurses (the furthest such predictions are issued, and the need is expected to continue climbing after that). More than 1.2 million openings for RNs will become available by 2020 due to expansion of health care needs and retirement of aging nurses.

This year’s report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing revealed that U.S. nursing schools were unable to accommodate 75,587 qualified applicants. Primary barriers are the nursing faculty shortage, space limitations, and budget cuts.

Earlier this month, the University of California system raised fees substantially for professional schools, in addition to the higher tuition already charged to such students. The highest change mandated is for nursing schools, with a 35% fee increase to $14,100 per year per in-state student above tuition. Waiting lists are now four years long to enter nursing school in California, so the fee increase will drive more applicants to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Many more data demonstrate how conditions are escalating for the very types of opportunities KSN provides. Therefore, I am appreciative of the efforts by President Henry and others to help us achieve this important final step for completing Nursing School East. Advancing Oklahoma City University to meet the needs of our global society is a highly worthy cause.

Dr. Marvel Williamson
Dean of Kramer School of Nursing