Vincennes University to Medical Community:  We Have Your Back.

Vincennes University to Medical Community:  We Have Your Back.

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March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. –  Pleas from medical workers in desperate need of supplies can be heard around the nation, including the communities surrounding Vincennes University. VU’s faculty and staff are assisting in the fight against COVID-19 by helping those who are on the front lines of the coronavirus battle.

The College of Health Sciences and Human Performance has donated hundreds of masks, including 420 N95 respirators, gowns, gloves, shoe covers, sterile cleaning products, and other supplies to medical professionals at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind. and Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, Ind.

“We greatly appreciate the generous donation of gowns and masks from VU. Our number one priority is to keep the employees, patients, and community safe. With the donation of PPE from our valued partner, our employees will be able to protect themselves so that they can provide the necessary care for our patients. Thank you for your support in helping us fight this battle. Together we will win!" Daviess Community Hospital CEO Tracy Conroy remarked.

VU faculty scoured labs and classrooms last weekend for items to donate. Their search yielded enough donations to fill the beds of two pickup trucks.

The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has left medical professionals without these necessities.  “During this time where there is so much unknown, it is an exhilarating feeling to know that we came together and did something that needed to be done to help our front line healthcare workers, many of which are our graduates,” Dean of VU’s College of Health Sciences and Human Performance Michelle Cummins said. 

“During this time, the community needs to know that they’re there for each other. Whether it’s an institution, whether it’s a department, whether it’s simply one-to-one, we just need to know that we’ve got each other’s backs.” 

Medical supplies were donated by programs in VU’s College of Health Sciences and Human Performance, which includes Pharmacy Technology, Funeral Service Education, Health Information Management, Practical Nursing, Associate Nursing, RN to BSN, Physical Therapist Assistant, Surgical Technology, and Kinesiology and Sport/Health & Physical Education.

“We teach at the college, but all of us come from industry,” Pharmacy Technology Chair Karen O’Connor said. “We’re all experienced in the field and work side jobs in those fields. We know how much these supplies are needed. Even though our full-time job is at VU, our all-time job is always healthcare.

“People go into the healthcare field because they have a passion to help people. Healthcare is a community of people that band together to help each other and we do what we need to do.”

O’Connor is also sewing masks and donating them to pharmacy and grocery store employees. The masks are doubled layered and washable, and made out of deconstructed unused scrubs.

Other VU faculty are doing their part to help keep medical workers protected, including Susan Brocksmith, Department Chair for VU’s Agribusiness and Cosmetology programs. She is working with a group to make 250 masks that will go to Good Samaritan. She’s also collecting and donating cleaning supplies to cancer patients, who are fearful of going out in public at this time.

“I was raised that our rent on earth is through the service that we give back to others,” Brocksmith said. “We all have different things in our lives that we face and this is one small contribution I can do. I have a daughter and son-in-law in Wisconsin in their residency programs and they are on the front lines right now fighting this. This is what I can do locally because I can’t do anything to help them up there.”

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. VU offers online degrees and classes to students who need access to college courses and flexibility through its Distance Education.

A leader in dual credit and career and technical education statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director

   812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,,

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,