University Dedicates Epley Center for Health Professions

The Epley Center for Health Professions at 600 N. Razorback Road is the home of the University of Arkansas Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.
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The Epley Center for Health Professions at 600 N. Razorback Road is the home of the University of Arkansas Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas celebrated on Monday the official dedication of the Epley Center for Health Professions, new home of the University of Arkansas Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Both are programs in the College of Education and Health Professions.

The celebration included recognition of donors Lewis and Donna Epley of Fayetteville, who made a lead naming gift to the building project. The university renovated the former Fount Richardson Student Health Center on Razorback Road on the northwest corner of campus, creating a 45,000-square-foot clinic, classroom and laboratory space for students majoring in communication disorders and nursing.

Lewis Epley, who practiced law in Eureka Springs, served on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1999. He currently serves as a board member of the University of Arkansas Foundation and the University Board of Advisors and formerly served on the Arkansas Alumni Association Board. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and an honorary degree recipient. His wife, Donna, was a registered nurse for 30 years. The couple has a long history of supporting the University of Arkansas.

“They care deeply about this university and its students, they have shown a commitment to public service, and they are greatly concerned about our progress as a state and as a society,” Chancellor G. David Gearhart said. “Their support of this facility, and our health professions, ensures that our progress can continue in the form of expanded enrollment and a greatly improved learning environment.”

Also recognized at the ceremony was another lead donor, Peggy Parks of Prairie Grove, who made a gift in honor of her mother, the late Amelia Remes Murphy, who was a World War I-era nurse. Additional donors honored were Washington Regional Medical Center; Steve and Paula Millstein of Dallas; and Gary Blair, husband of Nan Smith-Blair, director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.

Spaces in the facility named in recognition of these gifts are, respectively, the Amelia Remes Murphy, RN, Nursing Learning Environment; the Washington Regional Medical Center Simulation Laboratories; the Washington Regional Medical Center OB/GYN Simulation Suite; the Millstein Student Lounge; and the Nan Smith-Blair Director's Office.

Faculty and staff moved into the building over the winter break in preparation for the arrival of students for the spring semester that started Jan. 17.

The Epley Center for Health Professions contains an audiology suite in which services such as testing hearing aids and mapping cochlear implants are offered, an augmentative communication center, individual and group therapy rooms, adult treatment space, a pediatric room and a family assessment room. Communication disorders students provide assessment and therapy to clients under faculty supervision in the clinic.

“The Epley Center for Health Professions is not only a gift to our students and faculty in communication disorders; it is a gift to the community,” said Fran Hagstrom, head of the department of rehabilitation, human resources and communication disorders. “The additional space and updated equipment in the new Speech and Hearing Clinic allow us to see more clients. It includes a wonderful child therapy area as well as an expanded adult therapy section. The new sound booth and audiologic assessment tools allow us to evaluate clients for hearing aids, auditory processing disorders, and to map cochlear implants for individuals of all ages. We look forward to seeing and serving families across the Northwest Arkansas area in this wonderful, new clinic space.”

The portion of the building containing the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing features five high-fidelity simulation labs in which mannequins simulate patient conditions, five debriefing rooms for faculty and students to view and critique videotaped footage from the labs, basic skills labs, classrooms and a 60-seat computer lab.

Nan Smith-Blair, director of the nursing school, described the building as a living being with students, faculty and staff the lifeblood pulsing through it each day.

“I think I speak for both the faculty and students when I say that we are truly grateful to the university administration for providing such a wonderful learning space,” Smith-Blair said. “The students have commented on how wonderful the simulation area is. They view it as a safe place to learn to care for patients. It allows them to provide care to the mannequin ‘patients’ as their conditions change and the ability to review and improve their care prior to going into the clinical setting. Best of all, faculty and staff continue to walk around with smiles on their faces and still a little in awe of the wonderful facility.”


Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions

Danielle Strickland, director of development communications
University Relations


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