Trustees’ Executive Committee approves Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing

University officials and the Wood and Smith families break ground on the new facility that will house the nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and medical research programs. During the ground breaking ceremony for the Tracey F. Smith Hall of Nursing & Health Sciences, President Jerry M. Wallace also announced the nursing program will evolve into the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing. (Photo by Billy Liggett)
BUIES CREEK — The Campbell University Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee approved during a meeting Wednesday, March 25, the establishment and naming of the university’s eighth school: the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing.
Campbell began a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program last August with 85 students enrolled in its first seminar. Currently there are about 110 students enrolled in pre-nursing seminars. The Executive Committee’s action gives university leadership the approval to move forward with evolving the BSN degree program into a full school.
“This is a cause that is needed,” Campbell President Jerry M. Wallace said. “Our philosophy of health sciences at Campbell is that we treat the whole person — body, mind and spirit. . . . Today we extend that mission.”
The nursing school will be named for Catherine W. Wood. She graduated from Rex Hospital’s nursing school and obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1989. She spent many years working as a staff nurse in orthopedics and neurology at Gaston Memorial Hospital.
She is married to Luby Wood, a member of the Campbell University Foundation’s Board of Trustees and a former resident of Gastonia, North Carolina. He retired from Lowe’s Corporation and has managed a car wash chain and his family’s farming and land interests. The couple, who currently reside in Raleigh, received Campbell’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2011.
The approval of the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing came the same day that Campbell broke ground on a 72,000-square-foot facility that will house the school as well as the university’s physical therapy, occupational therapy and medical research programs. The new facility will be formally called the Tracey F. Smith Hall of Nursing & Health Sciences. It is named in honor of Tracey F. Smith of Farmville, North Carolina. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing. After pursuing a career in nursing, she served as the director of marketing at Carolina Medical Products.
Tracey Smith is married to Henry Smith, a 1967 graduate of Campbell and a member of the Campbell Board of Trustees. He was the founding owner and president of Carolina Medical Products. The couple has one daughter, Hannah, a journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I want to thank the Smiths and the Woods for their stewardship of life and for working hard and for being generous and being willing to support good causes,” Wallace said. “The significant gifts of these families . . . will help us in providing a facility that will be state-of-the-art and that will provide the kind of instruction and resources we need to educate the very best.”
Construction on the $22 million Tracey Smith Hall of Nursing & Health Sciences is expected to be completed by the spring of 2016. The Woods and Smiths served as co-chairs of the fundraising campaign for the new facility and gave lead gifts to support the project. The building will be adjacent to the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences located on Campbell’s Health Sciences Campus off U.S. 421, in Lillington, less than a mile west of the school’s main campus.
“I am glad that all these health care disciplines are neighbors now so that interprofessional education can be a strong and dedicated force for us because health care is delivered by a team,” said Nancy Duffy, director of Campbell’s nursing program.
The Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing is the second school Campbell has announced it plans to start since last fall. In October 2014, the Board of Trustees approved opening a School of Engineering in the fall of 2016, pending accreditation approval. When the proposed nursing and engineering schools launch, Campbell will be home to a total of nine colleges and schools, with three of them having opened since 2013. The Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its charter class of 160 students in August 2013.
“This new facility and the new programs demonstrate Campbell’s commitment to continually raising its standards to better serve its students and community,” said Britt Davis, vice president for institutional advancement and assistant to the president. “Campbell’s growth in recent years builds off our historical strengths in business, pharmacy, divinity, law, education, and the liberal arts and sciences, and will further position the university as a leader in providing private higher education in North Carolina and in addressing the state’s immediate and long-term needs.”
The School of Nursing is one of six new health degree programs Campbell has announced launching over the past five years. In addition to opening the School of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell has begun physician assistant (2011), public health (2013) and physical therapy (2014) programs. Also, the trustees approved in October 2014 starting a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Once opened in August 2016, pending accreditation approval, Campbell’s occupational therapy program will be one of the few fully accredited programs in the United States. There are currently only six such programs, with eight programs currently progressing through the accreditation process.
“Campbell University continues to position Harnett County as a leader in health care education in the Research Triangle Region and across North Carolina,” said Rep. David Lewis (N.C. District 53). “The addition of a new building for nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and research programs on Campbell’s growing Health Sciences Campus will be an economic driver and help the university attract top students and faculty from across the state and region.”
Campbell’s new and proposed programs in nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy are estimated to create more than 880 jobs in the Research Triangle Region and to have a total economic impact of over $400 million during their first 10 years of operation, according to an independent study conducted by Michael L. Walden, an economic consultant and the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University. Those programs are expected to have annual enrollment of 440 students within 10 years of operation.