SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing on Aug. 2 was recognized as a 2019 Center of Excellence for “enhancing student learning and professional development” by the National League for Nursing.

This makes SUNY Delhi the only SUNY school designated as a Center of Excellence, said Susan Deane, dean of SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing, in an email.

Being a Center of Excellence raises the bar for all nursing schools by providing a role model of leadership, said Kelli Ligeikis, SUNY Delhi provost.

“I truly believe that we have one of the strongest schools of nursing in the country, Ligeikis said. “I’m always in awe of the entire school.”

Nursing schools must apply to become a Center of Excellence and are chosen based on the ability to demonstrate sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research or student learning and professional development, according to a media release by the National League for Nursing. Ligeikis said the application process was spearheaded by Nancy Winters, assistant professor in SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing, and Deane.

The rate of passing the registered nurse licensing exam was 90% in 2018, Ligeikis said.

The nursing school’s online program for registered nurses seeking a bachelor of science in nursing, or RN-to-BSN, was ranked third in the state and 16th in the nation by Registerednursing.org. It is the nursing school’s largest degree, Ligeikis said.

SUNY Delhi’s highly ranked nursing program includes a blend of theory and hands-on lab work as well as practicums, according to the release.

The nursing program also owes its success to the dedication of faculty and staff in supporting their students. Berline Kemedjio, an online nursing student, expressed gratitude for this in an email forwarded to The Daily Star by Ligeikis.

In the email, she mentioned Laura Ziemba, SUNY Delhi BSN practicum coordinator, who walked her through “endless paperwork and requirements for practicum” and gave her encouragement and reassurance; professors and instructors with whom she still communicates; Amanda Calabrese, SUNY Delhi’s instruction and electronic resources librarian who helped her find articles and cite sources; and Donna Decker, the SUNY Delhi admissions counselor who helped her with the admissions paperwork process.

“What I’m most touched about are the people l met at Delhi Virtual world,” Kemedjio said in the email. “I am forever indebted to them for their unwavering support.”

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.