Alumni came from as far away as Colorado to attend a reunion of Lander University nursing alumni last week.
Those in attendance for the event, held in conjunction with Lander's annual homecoming celebration, included Sylvia Grubb, a graduate of Lander's first associate degree program in 1959, a time when Lander's nursing facilities consisted of one classroom and one lab.
Activities included breakfast at Lander's Alumni Center, followed by a tour of the William Preston Turner School of Nursing. Alumni looked through scrapbooks and photos documenting their years at Lander and posed for pictures with classmates.
Dean of Nursing Dr. Holisa Wharton said she was "thrilled with the turnout. To me this says that you love Lander and you value the nursing education that you received here."
The event was believed to be the first reunion specifically for nursing graduates ever held at Lander.
Wharton hopes to establish a nursing alumni society to help graduates of the program stay connected to the university, promote the accomplishments of graduates and plan future alumni events.
She talked about several developments within the School of Nursing, including a partnership that Lander has with Self Regional Hospital, which offers tuition assistance to employees who enroll in Lander's graduate level clinical nurse leader program.
"We're hoping to graduate our first class in 2019. Then we're going to try to branch out to offer this partnership to other hospitals across South Carolina," she said.
Nursing faculty also hope to "drive down health costs" through the development of a bachelor's program in health promotion and wellness.
Last academic year, Lander's nursing program was one of two in the state whose fall and spring graduating classes had a hundred percent pass rate on the state licensure and certification examinations that nurses are required to take. Wharton said she was recently informed that a hundred percent of the fall 2017 graduating class passed the test as well.
"That is something that we're used to seeing at Lander," she said.
She encouraged those present to contribute to scholarships as a way of "supporting Lander nursing education excellence."