Babson Park, Fl. October 5, 2023- Webber International University hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of its new Health Sciences Center.
The first phase of the Center is home to the University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) programs. The University began planning the state-of-the-art facility in 2019. Now complete, Webber students will have access to cutting-edge learning facilities and equipment.
Webber International University is looking to serve the community by filling the need for quality healthcare professionals by providing post-secondary education to the region of Southeast Polk County and beyond. According to Employ Florida, by 2028, Polk County will have 4,788 registered nursing positions open, an increased demand of 1.25%. Whereas, an increased demand of 3.25% is anticipated for OTA practitioners.
The ceremony was presided by Mr. Jay Culver, Webber’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Mr. Joe Strickler, Webber Board of Trustees Chair, and Dr. Nelson Marquez, Interim President/CEO for Webber International University.
Senior VP of Operations Mr. Jay Culver stated “This Health Science Building is far more than just bricks and mortar; it stands as a powerful symbol of our unwavering commitment to advancing healthcare education. It embodies the culmination of years of relentless effort, unwavering dedication, and fruitful collaboration among our esteemed faculty, dedicated staff, passionate students, and our broader community.”
On a local scale, Webber’s Health Sciences programs serve the community in need of qualified trained nurses and OTAs. It is providing access to healthcare education in Southeast Polk County that would otherwise be limited to residents in the area.
“This new facility signifies Webber’s way of providing quality education and training in health-related programs to students.” said Dr. Marquez Nelson.
The programs’ respective accrediting /oversight organizations have approved Webber to admit up to thirty-six (36) nursing students and twenty-four (24) OTA students per cohort. This will enable the University to produce seventy-two (72) nursing graduates and forty-eight (48) OTA graduates per year.
Speaking about the importance of the new facility to Webber students and the community, Dr. Marquez stated that it is “Webber’s way of responding to the state and nationwide need and demand for healthcare practitioners such as nurses and therapists. It is Webber’s way of contributing to Polk County’s health, prosperity, and quality of life.”
During the ceremony, aside from welcoming those in attendance, Dr. Marquez extended an open invitation to the community to become Webber’s partners. He invited everyone to be a part of the University’s commitment to providing quality training to health professions students. Most of all, he invited the entire community to be a part of the Webber way because, as he emphasized during his address, “We make it happen here!”
The Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce and EDC cohosted the ceremony alongside the institution. In attendance were several community partners, elected officials, and friends of Webber.
Webber International University
Established in 1927 by Roger Babson as the first college chartered under Florida’s then new charitable and educational laws, and America’s second school of business for women, Webber’s campuses in Babson Park, FL (residential); Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Laurinburg, NC (residential); and Pinehurst, NC now educate men and women from over 50 different nations. Degrees are offered at the associates, bachelors, and masters level through traditional day, accelerated night and weekend, and entirely on-line formats. Joining Webber as a branch campus in 2011, St. Andrews University is an historically Presbyterian, comprehensive liberal arts school tracing its roots back to 1896. The University features highly qualified faculty, highly engaged staff, small class size, and a wide array of intercollegiate sports and other extracurricular activities. The University has been recognized as a US News and World Reports Best Regional Colleges: South, a Princeton Review Best Southeastern College, has earned Petersons’ top marks for academics, value and community, and has been designated a Military Friendly School. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and numerous programs have earned additional programmatic accreditations.