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A nursing student pretends to give an routine exam to a patient while in an exam room at the HITS lab

This semester, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Nursing is marking the beginning of a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary.

“Fifty years of excellence could not be possible without strong leadership, amazing students, dedicated faculty and staff, and a community of supporters,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean and Sara Rosenbalm Croley Endowed Dean’s Chair of the college. “We are looking forward to a bright future with continued growth in enrollment, new facilities, and advancing nursing science through discovery and research.”

The college will kick off an exciting year of celebration with its annual NightinGala at 6 p.m. Friday, November 12, at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased online.

The fun-filled evening will include dinner and both silent and live auctions. Lori Tucker, anchor at WATE, will serve as emcee. The program will feature presentations of the Volunteer Nursing Champion Award, which recognizes an individual who is committed to improving health care and has made significant contributions to the community, and the Dr. Sylvia E. Hart Distinguished Alumni Award, which goes to a graduate of the College of Nursing who exemplifies excellence through outstanding achievement, creativity, and service to their profession. Following the program there will be entertainment from local band the Coveralls on the terrace.

The 2020 NightinGala, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, helped raise more than $90,000 for the college.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s event include Ayers Saint Gross, BarberMcMurry Architects, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, HOK, Johnson Architecture Inc., McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Partners Development, the Phillips Family, SLAM, and UT Medical Center.

The college’s anniversary year will include improvements in facilities and learning environments. The current 42,000-square-foot College of Nursing Building was adequate for the college in 1971, but with tremendous growth in the number of faculty, staff, and students, it is now dramatically undersized.

Construction on a renovated and expanded building, projected to be approximately 100,000 square feet, is slated to begin in the summer of 2022. The expanded facility will house enhanced simulation and research labs, including the nationally recognized Health Innovation Technology and Simulation (HITS) Lab, along with dynamic classroom environments and student collaboration areas. The $60 million anticipated cost of the project will be funded through a combination of donations and state funds.

The College of Nursing is a nationally recognized leader in the education of highly skilled visionary nurses. It enrolls more than 1,040 students in undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,

Kara Clark Cardwell (865-974-9498,