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Kansas Wesleyan University

Creating university history, 2021’s Nursing graduates were the first to receive their degrees from Kansas Wesleyan University since the opening of the Nursing Education Center earlier this year.

One such graduate is Amanda Hill, a Rossville native who, after a standout academic and athletic career at KWU, will be employed as a nurse at Salina Regional Health Center. Hill intends to work as a critical care nurse in the emergency department of SRHC. 

“I am looking forward to providing care to those in need and having a career that challenges me every day,” she said. 

Hill and her fellow graduates spent the latter half of the 2020-21 school year studying in KWU’s new Nursing Education Center, located across from the main campus. 

The Salina Regional Health Center gifted the building that would turn into the $5 million nursing center, and support from local and regional foundations, including Salina Regional Health Foundation, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the McCune Foundation and the Middlekauff Foundation, helped finance the renovation and rebuilding process. The new building — which opened in January — is designed to fulfill the educational needs of junior and senior level nursing students. 

“The new building is extremely nice and includes a huge lab room, two simulation rooms and an observation room in between,” Hill said. “One of my favorite parts of the building is the study room that we call the “Think Tank.” The entire room is made of glass walls that can be written on.”

Hill remembers her early days in the program, back in 2017, when space and resources were more limited.

“I started the program on the upper floor of Pioneer Hall. We had one classroom, a lab room and a very small simulation room,” Hill said. “It was a challenge and only three of us from my original freshman class remain.”

Their patience paid off. For the past seven years, KWU’s nursing program has been building momentum, culminating in the construction of the Nursing Education Center. 

“I am excited to see future classes utilize this building and all the phenomenal resources,” Hill said. “I am very thankful for the relationships I have made here at KWU and for all the people who have supported me and this program.”

Story by Skylar Nelson