Major building announcement excites audience at VU Opening Meeting

Major building announcement excites audience at VU Opening Meeting

VU faculty and staff invited to the RSPAC stage and saluted for their longtime service to the university.

August 08, 2023

VINCENNES, Ind. - The dawn of a new academic year brings joy, enthusiasm, and the hope of endless possibilities. Vincennes University faculty and staff gathered at Opening Meeting on Monday, Aug. 7, to kick off the academic year.

As VU prepares to welcome back students for the 2023 Fall Semester, VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson expressed optimism and excitement. Monday, Aug. 14, is the first day of classes for Fall Semester 2023.

"As we embark upon the 2023-2024 academic year, we have much to be thankful for and proud of,” Johnson said. “The many contributions of our faculty and staff have put Vincennes University in a position where we are very excited for the future of our institution. Each new year brings incredible opportunities and experiences for VU students as we work closely with our many employer and education partners and the communities we serve. We have a lot of things that we should feel great about and a bright future that we are building together.”

Indeed, the future is bright and great things are on the horizon, including the largest single building project in the history of VU.

During Opening Meeting, the University announced the addition of 70,000 square feet of new learning space on the Vincennes Campus with the construction of a $33.9 million ultra-modern Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning. It will rise on the former site of Harrison Hall, located just south of Updike Hall - Center for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. A projected opening date is Fall 2025.

When the announcement was made, rousing cheers and applause exploded from an excited audience filling the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center.

The new Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning will feature state-of-the-art clinical simulation labs equipped with high-fidelity manikins, virtual reality simulators, and video recording systems. It will include active learning spaces that will promote collaborative, team-based, flexible learning classrooms, which will be utilized by all colleges on campus, integrating dynamic and engaging learning. The cutting-edge facility nearly doubles the space that is currently available to VU students in the existing College of Health Sciences and Human Performance center.

Yearly, hundreds of VU graduates enter the workforce as healthcare heroes.

College of Health Sciences and Human Performance Dean Michelle Cummins said, "We are building upon the high-quality faculty, resources, and education Vincennes University offers students. The Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning will have a tremendous impact in advancing the academic and career aspirations of the next generation of healthcare professionals as well as students in other disciplines. Careers in healthcare, especially nursing, are among the highest-in-demand jobs in Indiana. This new modern center is key to providing a transformative space for VU students and faculty that will allow the University to meet growing enrollment demands in our health science programs and help support Indiana's healthcare systems."

There was lots to celebrate at Opening Meeting, including service award milestones. 

Johnson also announced the 2023 recipients of Peer Recognition Awards which honor faculty and staff for their extraordinary achievements, leadership, service, and dedication to Vincennes University. Tony Cummins (Assistant Mathematics Professor), JoEllen Horne (College of Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication Secretary), Elizabeth Curtis (College of Humanities English Department Secretary), Cindy McHenry (Custodial Maintenance Associate), Traci Stephens (Health Information Management Assistant Professor), and Randi Menke and Janice Strange (Chelsea Lawless Computer Lab Assistants) will be honored with a ceremony this semester.

VU also held a successful food drive at Opening Meeting. The donations will help restock the shelves at Sandy’s Pantry, which supports VU students experiencing food insecurity. Thanks to the generosity of VU faculty and staff, the University received $531 in monetary donations, which was matched by the VU Foundation, bringing the total to $1,031. There were nearly 970 non-perishable food items and hygiene products also donated.

Sandy’s Pantry is a partnership between VU and St. John’s United Church of Christ. Students with a valid VU identification card can access the pantry and receive free non-perishable food and hygiene items in a judgment-free setting. Sandy's Pantry is located at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 606 N. 5th St. in Vincennes.

# # #