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LHU announces plans to create school of nursing and expand nursing program to main campus


Given the increasing demand for highly-qualified nurses in an ever-evolving healthcare environment, Lock Haven University is announcing plans to expand its nursing programs to the main campus and establish a school of nursing. The idea is influenced by current trends in healthcare, primarily the consolidation of major healthcare providers into large systems, which provide the groundwork to form mutually beneficial partnerships and pipelines for their workforce.

At LHU’s February 22 meeting of the Council of Trustees, the university presented a proposal and resolution to establish a Lock Haven University School of Nursing — an administrative structure that provides for managing the challenges and capturing the opportunities in the current environment. 

The proposed organization puts in place managerial support that provides administrative benefit for both the Clearfield and Lock Haven campuses, brings nursing expertise to support the faculty in geographic and programmatic expansion and extends capacity for building industry partnerships and revenue generation. 

Since 1991, Lock Haven University has provided comprehensive nursing education to students in the Clearfield region, when the University established the Clearfield Campus. LHU took in the Central Pennsylvania School of Nursing, an RN diploma program operated by a consortium of four Clearfield area hospitals, and converted it to a two-year associate degree program in nursing (ASN).

The university has since added gateway associate degree and online RN to BSN degree programs. The nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). They have served as the anchor of the Clearfield campus, representing approximately half of the enrollments and drawing primarily from Clearfield and immediate surrounding counties. Currently, 176 students are enrolled in LHU’s nursing program.

Recently, a state-of-the-art simulation lab opened through a partnership between Penn Highlands Hospital in Clearfield and the LHU Nursing Department, further expanding opportunities for LHU nursing students to experience hands-on learning in a true-to-life hospital setting.

LHU President Robert Pignatello believes that extending the nursing program to LHU’s main campus and establishing a school of nursing is an important next step in the evolution of the University’s nursing and healthcare programs. “Lock Haven University is committed to aligning our academic program offerings to meet the workforce needs of the Commonwealth in critical areas like health care. Establishing the Lock Haven University School of Nursing and bringing LHU’s highly-reputable nursing programs to Lock Haven’s main campus will provide expanded access to affordable and quality nursing education in the central Pennsylvania region,” LHU President Pignatello said.

A recent review of the program by Dr. Stephen Cavanagh, RN, PhD, MPA, FRSPH, FInstLM, FAAN, and dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, supports the University’s proposal to expand the program to the main campus and establish the school.

“I am of the opinion that a school (of Nursing) is warranted on the grounds that it will greatly facilitate the focus, stature, and growth of the nursing programs at the Clearfield Campus, Lock Haven University main campus and elsewhere,” Cavanagh said.

The school of nursing will continue the university’s reputation for high-quality programs with excellent outcomes taught by highly motivated faculty and staff who are genuinely passionate about the quality of education they offer.

“Lock Haven University is proud to be preparing the next generation of healthcare providers, managers, and educators,” Dr. Donna Wilson, provost and executive vice president at Lock Haven University, said.

The recent redesign of the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) as a “sharing system” has the potential to increase opportunities for nursing students and faculty without increasing costs; and the opportunity to expand — both geographically and programmatically — to capture more of the nursing education enrollments in the Clearfield and Lock Haven markets and beyond.

The school will be bolstered by the existing reputable footprint of Lock Haven University health science and healthcare professions academic programs that can be leveraged to garner enrollments, recognition, partnerships and resources across not only regional and Commonwealth but also national markets.

Dr. Jonathan Lindzey, LHU dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences; the faculty in the Nursing Department; Dr. Donna Wilson, provost and executive vice president; and President Robert Pignatello are excited about the prospect of establishing the school of nursing and believe the move will advance the expansion, stature, enrollment, resources and operation of the program.

For more information on Lock Haven University, visit, email, or call 570-484-2011. 

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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.

LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

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Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations

Elizabeth Arnold
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(570) 484-2293

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