UL Lafayette celebrates R1 status, far-reaching significance of designation
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions has a new name. So do the two departments the college comprises.
The Department of Nursing is now the LHC Group • Myers School of Nursing, an elevation that honors the largest private philanthropic investment in UL Lafayette history and recognizes the size, scope, scale and quality of its nationally ranked nursing programs.
Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, announced the changes in a message to students, faculty and staff members on Thursday.
He called the modifications “more than a rebranding.”
“By renaming the college and its departments, we are confirming past strength. We’re also committing ourselves to future growth that will deepen our decades-long commitment to the well-being of every resident who depends on the region’s health care providers,” Savoie said.
UL Lafayette’s College of Nursing opened in 1951. It became the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions in 1998, said Dr. Melinda Oberleitner, dean.
Oberleitner said renaming the college and its departments “better reflects the scope of the educational opportunities we provide students. The degree programs and certificates we offer touch nearly every aspect of care a patient might receive throughout their lifetimes.”
Both Savoie and Oberleitner noted that 90% of College of Nursing & Health Sciences graduates remain in Acadiana to work after earning their degrees. The University is the primary creator of the region’s health care workforce.
“Studies have shown a correlation between the education level of a nurse and better outcomes and improved quality of care for the patients they treat,” Oberleitner said.
“The University’s commitment to health care education means healthier communities and a more vibrant and agile health care landscape for this region.”
Keith Myers, chairman and CEO of LHC Group, also noted the role the College of Nursing & Health Sciences plays in strengthening and expanding health care in Acadiana.
Last year, the Lafayette-based provider of in-home health care services and innovations for communities around the nation made a $20 million commitment to the college, the largest private philanthropic investment an academic unit at UL Lafayette has ever received.
“The presence of UL Lafayette – and the well-educated, highly skilled health care professionals it produces – enables companies like ours to grow within the region and expand well beyond,” Myers said at the time.
UL Lafayette has recognized the historic nature of the investment by renaming the former Department of Nursing as the LHC Group • Myers School of Nursing.
“We remain deeply grateful to LHC Group and the Myers family for entrusting us with this historic support and are proud to honor their generosity,” Savoie said.
Oberleitner noted that the elevation of the nursing department to a school “is an indication of the trajectory we are on to strengthen current programs, many of which are nationally recognized, and expand into other areas to meet critical health care workforce needs.”
She added: “The college and LHC Group have common missions built on service and providing compassionate care. The company knows firsthand who we are and the quality of education we provide. The level of support that they have offered is humbling, and we remain honored to be the stewards of their investment in the future of health education.”
The name changes UL Lafayette announced on Thursday were approved last year by the University’s governing boards.