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The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) has named the atrium in its new building after former dean Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, FAAN, FACNM, who served as dean for 29 years and is credited with transforming nursing education at Vanderbilt and nationally.

Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, VUSN Dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing at VUSN, tells, “Under Colleen’s direction, Vanderbilt School of Nursing became a leader in nursing education, practice and research. In her nearly three decades as dean, the school educated thousands of nurses who changed — and continue to change — health care at all levels and for many people. Her impact cannot be overstated.”

The atrium is part of a new $23.6 million Vanderbilt Nursing building. The atrium will serve as the main entrance to the school and connect all four of the nursing school’s buildings together. Norman thanked the trustees of Conway-Welch’s estate and the Colleen Conway-Welch Family Foundation for providing the funds for the atrium and for their vision for honoring the late dean during a dedication ceremony on June 5. 

The four-story atrium features a floor-to-roof glass wall, an artisan-crafted wall constructed from a tree removed from the site, a wide staircase designed to encourage movement and interaction, and plenty of space for student study and student-faculty engagement.

Conway-Welch served as VUSN dean from 1984 to 2013, when she retired and was named dean emerita by the university. She died from cancer in October 2018, four months before the building was completed. 

To learn more about the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s new nursing building featuring an atrium dedicated to former dean Colleen Conway-Welch, visit here

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