Dunigan Family School of Nursing to Launch Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

An innovative program that aims to address the critical shortage of healthcare professionals and cultivate the next generation of nursing leaders will soon be launched at the University of Evansville (UE).

In 2024, the Dunigan Family School of Nursing will expand through the introduction of an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (A-BSN) designed to allow students who have an undergraduate degree in another field to earn their BSN in as little as 16 months. This first cohort is expected to begin in the summer of 2024.

"The A-BSN program is designed to provide a fast-track degree option for people who want to switch careers to enter the field of nursing," said Mary Kessler, Interim Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost. "By introducing this program, we aim to mitigate the nursing shortage locally and nationally while showcasing our commitment to making a positive impact."

By 2030, the retirement of nearly 5 million Registered Nurses (RNs) and the need for an additional 1.2 million new nurses create a substantial demand for educational initiatives like the A-BSN program.

The accelerated BSN program directly addresses the severe nursing shortage experienced by local stakeholders, including Deaconess Healthcare and Ascension St. Vincent Evansville. With over 350 vacant acute care RN positions within a 6-mile radius and no accelerated BSN program within 50 miles, the program will become a crucial asset to the community. Graduates will swiftly fill nursing openings, alleviating the reliance on travel nursing contracts and ensuring a robust healthcare workforce for the region.

To learn more, please visit

Fourteen UE Students Selected for Prestigious Scholars Program

The University of Evansville (UE) proudly announces that fourteen of its students have been selected to join the prestigious Class of 2025 Indiana AHEC Scholars Program. This highly competitive program is part of a national initiative aimed at preparing the health care professionals of tomorrow to be leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice, dedicated to serving the underserved populations of Indiana.

The Indiana AHEC Scholars program is tailored to individuals with a resolute commitment to providing health care services in rural and medically underserved communities across the state of Indiana. These dedicated students will undergo a rigorous two-year program that combines didactic training opportunities with hands-on field experiences. These experiences are specially designed to focus on both rural and urban health care, with an emphasis on caring for underserved populations.

Throughout their journey in the Indiana AHEC Scholars program, these outstanding students will engage with and integrate eight core topics:

  • Behavioral Health Integration
  • Cultural Competency & Humility
  • Interprofessional Practice
  • Practice Transformation
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Connecting Communities and Supporting Health Professionals
  • Virtual Learning and Telehealth
  • Current/Emerging Issues (Including topics such as COVID-19, the Opioid Epidemic, and Maternal-Child Health)

"UE extends our congratulations to the exceptional students comprising the new class of Indiana AHEC Scholars," said Dr. Andy Lampkins, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences. "These students represent the future of health care and have demonstrated their unwavering dedication to making a positive impact in communities that need it most."

The Class of 2025 Indiana AHEC Scholars from the University of Evansville are as follows:

Katelyn Brown - Physician Assistant

Sydney Hirt - Physician Assistant

Aubrey Lankford - Physician Assistant

Heather Mathis - Nursing

Samantha Moore - Exercise Physiology

Hannah Myers - Physician Assistant

Hannah Rawhoof - Physical Therapy

Chastity Reising - Physician Assistant

Natalie Schimp - Physician Assistant

Carlie Schultheis - Physician Assistant

Yanyu Wei - Physician Assistant

Erika Will - Physician Assistant

Kathryn Williams - Physical Therapy

Keri Zumbahlen - Physical Therapy

About the Indiana AHEC Network: Indiana AHEC Network's mission is to improve health by recruiting, educating and retaining health care professionals in underserved communities. We work to enhance access to quality health care, primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals through community/academic educational partnerships.

Dunigan Family School of Nursing Achieves Full Accreditation Status through Spring 2031

The University of Evansville’s (UE) Dunigan Family School of Nursing has announced the recent achievement of full accreditation status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) through Spring 2031. This accreditation signifies the school's commitment to excellence in nursing education and its dedication to preparing students for successful careers in the field.

Notably, the ACEN Board of Commissioners, in their assessment of the school's nursing program, identified a remarkable area of program strength. The Dunigan Family School of Nursing's students benefit from a rich and diverse learning experience that encompasses educational activities exploring a wide range of cultures, ethnic differences, and societal distinctions.

One of the standout features contributing to this program’s strength is the unique opportunity for students to study abroad while pursuing their nursing education. By taking nursing courses in foreign countries, students broaden their horizons, gain a global perspective, and enhance their cultural competence. Importantly, they can achieve their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree within eight semesters, making this an exceptional and efficient pathway for aspiring nurses.

"We are thrilled to receive full accreditation status from ACEN, which underscores our unwavering commitment to excellence in nursing education," said Dr. Jerrilee LaMar, Associate Professor and Nancy McFadin Mueller Chair in Nursing. "We are especially proud of our unique programs that offer students the chance to explore diverse cultures and international perspectives while working towards their BSN. This distinction reaffirms our mission to prepare our students for success in the field of nursing, both locally and globally."

For more information about the Dunigan Family School of Nursing and its programs, please visit

Public Notice of Upcoming Accreditation Review Visit by the ACEN

The University of Evansville wishes to announce that it will host a site visit for continuing accreditation of its Bachelor of Science of Nursing program by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

You are invited to meet with the site visit team and share your comments about the program in person at a meeting scheduled at 10:00-10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, in Room 240 in Wallace Graves Hall located in at 1800 Lincoln Ave, Evansville, Indiana.

Written comments are also welcome and should be submitted directly to:

Dr. Marsal Stoll, Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Commission for Education for Nursing
3390 Peachtree Road Northeast, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326
Or email:

All written comments should be received by the ACEN by January 24, 2023

UE Named a 2022-2023 College of Distinction

The University of Evansville has been recognized for its commitment to helping undergraduate students learn, grow, and succeed by Colleges of Distinction, a unique guide for college-bound students. UE has been named a 2022-2023 College of Distinction and an Indiana College of Distinction, and it also received recognition for a multitude of academic programs and campus departments. 

Colleges of Distinction uses a selection process not only of in-depth research but also detailed interviews with the schools, accepting only those that adhere to the “Four Distinctions.” This includes criteria of engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community, and successful outcomes. Combined, these principles ensure that students have a fulfilling and individualized college experience both inside and outside the classroom. 

“At our university, we are deeply committed to providing a well-rounded, transformative education that has a lasting impact on our students for years to come,” said Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, president of UE. “This recognition from Colleges of Distinction speaks to our mission and the individual experiences of each of our students.” 

Aside from overall undergraduate recognitions, Colleges of Distinction also awards recognition in individual areas. UE earned recognition in the academic areas of business, education, engineering, and nursing. Colleges of Distinction also recognized the University’s career development, equity and inclusion, and military support

“The success of our academic programs and campus departments speaks to the endless efforts of our staff, faculty, and administration,” said Michael Austin, PhD, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “We are proud to deliver high-quality courses for our students while also providing academic quality, personal support, and career counseling  throughout their journey at this university.” 

About Colleges of Distinction 

Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for true excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. Its website provides dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information, and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit

Nursing Students Make Donation to Dream Center

Senior-level students in the University of Evansville Dunigan Family School of Nursing recently made a donation to Dream Center Evansville. Funds were raised during the fall semester, and the $1,400 check was presented on January 12, 2022.  

The donation was made possible through a scrub jacket sale offered to Nursing students, as well as the generous support of locally- based Kim’s Scrub Connection. Owner Kim Tenhumberg and her husband, Keith, donated several jackets to the sale in honor of her mother-in-law, Delores Tenhumberg.  

“We chose to donate to Dream Center because it is a local, faith-based organization that strives to teach children how to be self-sufficient, serve those around them, and live a healthy life,” said Rachel Jones, a senior Nursing student and representative for her class. “The goal for our senior project was to promote healthy living and decrease the rate of childhood obesity in the local community. We partnered with Dream Center to make this possible, because they support these initiatives through education and empowerment.” 

In addition to the monetary donation, the students provided healthy snacks and educational materials for Dream Center’s after-school program. Jones and other students in her group also volunteered for a few days with the organization by leading activities, teaching children the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. 

“I didn’t know much about Dream Center’s mission and operations before volunteering, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit,” said Jones. “I quickly learned just how much they do to shape the youth of our community.” 

Dream Center Evansville is a collective impact backbone organization dedicated to helping every child in Jacobsville win by curating the neighborhood’s cradle-to-career continuum. 

Jeremy Evans, executive director of Dream Center Evansville, was pleased with the partnership. “By exposing our next generation of healthcare providers to the challenges facing families in poverty,” he said, “we help to ensure equitable treatment and cast a light on the real difficulties people in poverty face every day.” 

Students in Dream Studio holding check.

UE Receives $3.6 Million Gift for Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship

The University of Evansville (UE) has been provided a $3.6 million gift from the John B. and Lucille S. Kelly Trust. The funds will support and grow the Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship, which assists Dunigan Family School of Nursing students who demonstrate financial need and strong academic abilities. 

After her marriage to Dr. John B. Kelly, Lucy relocated from St. Louis to Evansville. At age 42 she decided to enroll at UE for a nursing degree. In 1970, she graduated at 46. Looking back on her time at the University, she considered her four years of studies some of the most fulfilling and happiest of her life. Lucy worked as a nurse at Welborn Baptist Hospital for many years, while her husband was a urologist for Welborn Clinic. She eventually moved to a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona, where she lived until her passing at the age of 97. 

“We are tremendously grateful for the Kellys’ generosity and foresight in developing a philanthropic plan that will both make the UE Nursing degree more accessible to students and expand the pipeline of professionals in this critical need field,” said Abigail Werling, vice president for university advancement at UE.  “Mrs. Kelly was very proud of her UE degree, and today, we are proud of the Kellys’ decision to invest in the University of Evansville’s future with such a beautiful gift of scholarship.” 

Concerned about the nursing shortage and accessibility to education, Lucy established the Lucy Kelly Nursing Scholarship at UE. It was her hope that students in need could pursue their passion for nursing and join the field after graduation. Applicants for the scholarship must be in the top twenty percent of their class and hold a B grade average. 

UE was the first institution in the state of Indiana to receive accreditation for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Now celebrating over 60 years of continuous accreditation, the program offers a scientific and creative learning environment in which students work closely with talented, experienced faculty. UE offers direct entry into the program for eligible freshmen, meaning those who meet required standards are guaranteed a spot in the program once they deposit. Direct entry students also receive a nursing scholarship valued at $20,000 per year. 

“Nursing careers, especially in the tri-state region, are currently in high demand,” said Jerrilee Lamar, PhD, RN, CNE, the Dunigan Family School of Nursing chair. “We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift from the John B. and Lucille S. Kelly Trust, which will support nursing students for years to come.” 

Students interested in pursuing a nursing degree can apply for free at 

UE Nursing Graduates Achieve 100 Percent First-Time Pass Rate on NCLEX-RN

The class of 2020 graduates of the University of Evansville’s Dunigan Family School of Nursing achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The national average for the first-time pass rate was 87.5 percent in 2020. 

Senior-level nursing students were halfway through their final semester when the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States. Despite the sudden change in learning formats and clinical rotations, the students adapted quickly. 

“I was very impressed to see them maintain a resilient focus and push through adversity,” said Jerrilee LaMar, PhD, RN, CNE, chair of the Dunigan Family School of Nursing. “While they didn’t get to finish their studies in the classroom together or have a pinning ceremony, they did receive a high-quality education that prepared them for success.” LaMar also recognized the compassionate faculty that were instrumental in helping students along the way. 

The Dunigan Family School of Nursing incorporates several strategies into the program to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN. Several years ago, the faculty developed a review course for seniors. In the course, students take practice exams that identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. The faculty, who serve as mentors, help students write individualized study strategies that prepare them for the NCLEX exam. 

To prepare students earlier on in the curriculum to think like a nurse, the faculty also developed a course to strengthen students’ understanding of complex issues and decision-making to answer questions seen on the NCLEX exam. This course was piloted with the junior-level students, and the results were so successful that it became part of the required curriculum. Additionally, underclassmen are paired with a senior nursing student as an additional resource for help along the way. 

“All of our 2020 graduates are now working as nurses in the healthcare field, and many of them are working with COVID-19 patients,” said LaMar. “We are immensely proud to see them applying their skills and passion to help those struggling most during the pandemic.” 

Nursing students with Sim in the Dunigan Nursing Simulation Lab

UE Health Sciences Programs Donate Equipment

The University of Evansville’s Health Science programs have donated personal protection equipment (PPE) to support the efforts of healthcare workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Local hospitals, Ascension St. Vincent and Deaconess locations including Encompass Health, Gateway, and Midtown reached out to us to see if we had some extra equipment we could donate, and of course we responded as quickly as possible to share what we have to help keep those front-line healthcare workers safe,” said Jerrilee LaMar, chair and White Family Endowed Professor of UE’s Dunigan Family School of Nursing.

Departments that donated equipment include the School of Nursing, Physician Assistant Science, and the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. Donated equipment includes six boxes of face masks, 100 isolation gowns, more than 100 boxes of exam and surgical gloves.


These items are typically used by University of Evansville’s health science students as they learn and practice skills in laboratories like the Dunigan Family Nursing Lab on UE’s campus or the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences in downtown Evansville.  During their course of study, students engage in real-life simulations and use actual healthcare equipment. Like other institutions, the University’s in-person classes have been cancelled for the remainder of the spring semester, although students are still actively engaged in online coursework. This donation allows our health education programs the opportunity to assist their community partners in their time of need.

“We are proud to partner with our local hospitals to give our health science students high level experience in their respective fields,” said Mary Kessler, dean of UE’s College of Education and Health Sciences. “In times of need, we are honored to be able to help their efforts in any way we can.”

Publication Featured in The Nurse Practitioner for Dr. Angie Wooton

Dr. Angie Wooton and coauthor, Lynne Melchior, Diabetes Educator have just published an article, Diabetes-associated cardiac autonomic neuropathy or CAN featured in The Nurse Practitioner. 45(2):24-31, February 2020. Cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is an under diagnosed cardiovascular complication associated with diabetes. This is the third publication in a series focused on diabetic neuropathy.