By PHYLLIS HODGES
More than 200 Gannon University members and area residents joined in a celebration on the Ruskin campus September 9 to celebrate the second phase of construction on its $20 million, three-floor academic building. The building added 80,000 square feet to the original 17,000-square-foot campus.
At a dedication ceremony in 2019, President Keith Taylor reflected on Gannon’s journey since opening the campus in 2014. He said then that this expansion was a monumental step in advancing the quality of healthcare delivery across the region and nation.
In his comments this year, President Taylor again reflected on Gannon’s thorough research, which determined that their programs align perfectly with the healthcare needs of this region. He related that Gannon has made an impact of $18 million on the community since establishing the campus here.
Ruskin Campus Dean Sarah Ewing said that the pandemic presented some challenges, but it did not slow down momentum for program expansion and student growth. She expressed her appreciation to all those who made the new academic building a reality. It expands the campus’ practical application and training opportunities..
Touring guests were in awe of the sophisticated technology Gannon is blending into student training. The classrooms and laboratories are filled with high-tech communication systems, some of which allow cross instruction between Ruskin and the Erie, Pennsylvania campus. The incorporated amenities and gathering places are designed to enhance both students’ and employees’ experiences. Particularly impressive is the Patient Simulation Center with its realistic mannequins and monitoring systems that offer hands-on preparation for real-life medical situations.
The building’s first floor is fully functional with classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, Fitness Center, etc. Space on the second floor is being reserved to accommodate additional programs and growth of student population. Now with 300 students, the Gannon Ruskin campus is designed for 500, students, which is projected to be reached in another two years.
Among the advanced programs currently offered at Ruskin are a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, an online Post-Professional, Occupational Therapy Doctorate, Master’s in Physician Assistant Science and Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. The University’s Erie, Pennsylvania, campus also offers advanced programs as well as online and traditional associate and bachelor’s degrees. A combined total of more than 4,800 are now enrolled at the Erie and Ruskin campuses.
Commenting on the community role that Gannon University expects to play with this Florida campus, Provost and V.P. for Student Experience Walter Iwanenko said their vision is to make the Ruskin Campus a “destination” by providing resources to the surrounding communities. They already are making meeting spaces available and later will be offering memberships to the Fitness Center.
Gannon University is a Catholic, diocesan university that traditionally offers a comprehensive, values-centered learning experience, which emphasizes faith and inclusiveness to prepare its students to become knowledgeable, innovative and socially responsible professionals within their careers and communities. Visit gannon.edu for more information.