UL's College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is the recipient of the largest single private investment in the university's history.

LHC Group is making a $20 million investment over the next 10 years to that department. President Joseph Savoie and department dean Melinda Oberleitner announced on Thursday. According to Drs. Savoie and Oberleitner, that money will allow the university to establish an endowed deanship for the college. That new deanship will provide discretionary funds for professional development programs for students and faculty.

The investment will also allow the college to create an endowed faculty research and development fund, to endow support for an internationally-accredited simulation lab program, to support new endowed professorships and other teaching positions, and to provide scholarships to students who pursue post-acute care certification at the graduate level.

Another $9 million will go towards addressing the college's space limitations.

"This investment changes our direction," Dr. Oberleitner said. "It allows us to think very hard about new programs that we can develop, about expanding current programs, and it will accelerate the timeline to do that. To students who are looking to come into a health profession: We want to be that destination of choice. We now have the resources to do that.

"This is our 70th anniversary as a college," Dr. Oberleitner continued. "It's just a remarkable convergence of events that led us to this day, and it's because of our alumni and the outcomes of our alumni because of the strong work of our faculty and the work of our current students. LHC group sees us as an investment, and it's a wise investment. It's a safe investment because we are such a quality program."

Dr. Oberleitner, who in addition to being the dean of the college is an alumna of the program, says this is a momentous day in the college's history.

"It makes me so proud," Dr. Oberleitner said with tears of joy in her eyes. "It makes me very humble. It especially makes me happy coming off of and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the pandemic. It was heart wrenching to see our graduates and our alums on the front lines in the dark days of the pandemic. This is a testimony to them--a testimony to everything that sacrificed personally and professionally for all of us during the pandemic."

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