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Think back to the year 1971: The voting age was lowered to 18, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida, the Meditation Chapel was dedicated on campus, and Eastern Kentucky University began its baccalaureate nursing program. Eastern’s nursing program celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend, October 29-31, 2021, with a variety of events to recognize the achievements of its alumni and its program.

Nursing is 50The nursing program has experienced tremendous growth over the past 50 years as it now includes seven opportunities for students at all levels of education: associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral. 

“EKU nursing was a school of opportunity at that time and still is today,” said Dr. Brooke Bentley, chair of the school of nursing. “We are proud to be a part of the education of many first-generation college students. Over the past five decades, each nursing student and faculty member has contributed to the highly-regarded reputation held by all of the EKU nursing programs.”

More than 50 alumni and their families will enjoy a weekend full of activities beginning Friday with a day at Keeneland or golf at the University Club at Arlington before a happy hour. Saturday, there’s more golf, muffins and mimosas at the Rowlett Building, tailgating and football during the afternoon, and an Air Supply concert in the evening. Sunday is another opportunity for golfing. Alumni from as far away as Washington state are scheduled to be in town for the festivities.

EKU’s School of Nursing boasts award-winning programs ranging from being named the top nursing program in the Commonwealth to international online teaching excellence. Nearly 100 percent of graduates are employed by the time they graduate, according to Bentley. 

“We are proud to salute each graduate of the School of Nursing and the difference they have made in 50 years of impacting the health of communities,” Bentley said.