UVA Wise Opens High-Tech Nursing Center

April 18, 2024 By Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise last week opened a $16.6 million, 28,500-square-foot nursing education center to expand nurse training at the school and health-care coverage across Southwest Virginia.

“These improvements will not only expand opportunities for students in health care and in nursing, but also will entice more students to choose nursing as a career and will ultimately help to address the nursing shortage and improve health outcomes for patients and families in the region,” UVA President Jim Ryan said at the dedication.

The new facility, formerly the college’s main library, was completely renovated and transformed to include upgraded classrooms, three skilled-nursing labs, two simulations labs and four examination rooms. The building, now called the Don R. Pippin & John C. Wyllie Hall, also features group study rooms, offices and a large lecture hall.

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Joining Ryan at the dedication were UVA Rector Robert D. Hardie, UVA Board of Visitors member Tom DePasquale and UVA Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry.

“I extend a heartfelt thanks to all of our employees and the employees of the University of Virginia who have worked diligently to make this dream facility a reality,” Henry said. “I would like to recognize our nursing students who are with us today. You are all now part of this college’s story. Please know we are so proud of you for working to learn without the needed space over your time here. We are thrilled that our seniors are having the opportunity to spend their final days in Pippin-Wyllie Hall.”

One of those seniors, Sarah Slemp, said the expanded space is much appreciated.

A group of UVA Wise nursing students listens to speakers
A group of UVA Wise nursing students listens to speakers dedicating a building for nursing education that will also help improve health care in Southwest Virginia. (Photo by Mark Robertson-Baker)

“Before the opening of the new facility, I often struggled to find a quiet place to study, as the other areas were dedicated to other programs,” she said. “Not only do nursing students now have a dedicated place to study and learn, we also have updated equipment and facilities, tailored specifically to nursing education and practice.”

The building is named for a pair of men who had an outsized impact on the school, Henry said. 

The late Don R. Pippin, who graduated from UVA Wise in 1958, UVA in 1960 and UVA’s School of Law in 1963, led an effort in the Virginia General Assembly to name the campus the University of Virginia's College at Wise, now commonly known as UVA Wise. Originally, it was called Clinch Valley College before leaders changed the name to the University of Virginia's College at Wise in 1999. Pippin served two terms on the UVA Board of Visitors.

John C. Wyllie, a 1929 UVA graduate who was instrumental in building library collections in Charlottesville, also helped UVA Wise develop its first library, even hauling books from Charlottesville to Southwest Virginia in his car trunk. The first UVA Wise library was named for him, and his name will remain on the renovated building now serving as the nursing center.

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Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications