Expanding Our Horizons

Harry Ashenhurst

Graceland celebrates the 50th anniversary of the School of Nursing in this issue of Horizons. It is a great example of how many different people and their accomplishments have made us what we are today. What an impressive record!  

In its first half-century, the nursing program pioneered an incredibly successful distance learning program to help working nurses with an RN complete their bachelor’s degree and qualify for professional upgrades. It also developed some of Graceland’s first master’s degree programs and then crossed the finish line with Graceland’s first doctoral degree: a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Along the way, nursing students expanded their horizons in service-learning projects in developing nations. Today, we are looking for ways to expand into the allied health service fields. Our hats go off to 50 years of creative, dedicated and competent leadership and teaching at all levels.

When we broaden our vision, we see that same spirit of vision and innovation in Graceland past and present. In just a few years, the faculty has led the way in renovating the core liberal arts curriculum to better equip our students for the world today. I cannot adequately express my admiration and appreciation for a core group of teachers who developed the essential learning outcomes curriculum in a brutally short time. The work continues with the addition of new programs in data management, Hispanic studies and creative writing to serve student needs.

Student Life, the athletic programs and Campus Ministries also deserve applause for the flexibility and initiative to evolve with the changing times and composition of the student body. Student Life is working to find common ground between campus activities and academic classes through service-learning opportunities. Student government leaders and athletic coaches are developing and exchanging ways to more fully integrate athletes into campus life. Campus Ministries and others are working to bring all students together in building the precious heritage of campus community.

As we move into the future, searching for more innovation and growth that match our school’s mission and values, may we catch the can-do spirit that keeps Graceland relevant and vibrant in the challenging world of higher education.

Harry Ashenhurst signature

Chair, Graceland University Board of Trustees