Category: School of Nursing and Health Professions

Soli Pannell (left) and Asher Bellavigna flash the L's Up while wearing their nursing scrubs and standing in front of an LU backdrop.

Nursing Students Save Man’s Life During Spring Break

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by Jet Turner and Ellie Melero

The sound of running water and chittering animals filled the late March air as the river cut its way around rocks, whisking up droplets of water that splashed the faces of the four Langston University students who had come to the Blue River for spring break.

Asher Bellavigna, Jalani Doolin, Mykah Sellers and Soli Pannell had come to the Blue River in Tishomingo to escape the stresses of school, but their peaceful afternoon was interrupted when a gunshot echoed through the hills.

Pannell’s first instinct was to run––they were too close to the campsites for it to have been a normal hunting shot––but Bellavigna, an Ardmore native and regular to the Blue River campgrounds, figured there must have been an animal in a nearby campsite someone was trying to scare away.

“There’s a lot of wildlife out there,” Bellavigna said. “So that’s what I was thinking it was, there’s an animal or there’s something nearby. Maybe he shot a snake, or maybe it was just an accident.”

The group waited, listening intently for any other strange noises, and relaxed when no other shots followed.

By then the sun had begun to sink behind the dead pines, so Bellavigna asked his friends if they wanted to continue exploring around the river or head back to his parents’ campsite, where they would stay for the night.

Surprising even himself, Doolin suggested they keep exploring the river.

Students Jalani Doolin, Asher Bellavigna, Soli Pannell and Mykah Sellers at Blue Creek.
(From left to right) Jalani Doolin, Asher Bellavigna, Soli Pannell and Mykah Sellers took this selfie about 5 minutes before they heard the gunshot.

“I’m not really like an outside person,” Doolin said. “I just had a feeling like we should just keep walking around. It was just a feeling. And it turned out to be something bigger than expected.”

The group trekked up a nearby hill and cut to the left, heading back toward the main campground road. A weird, eerie feeling began to settle over Pannell before she felt two hands push her to the side.

Bellavigna was the first to hear a faint car engine, and as the Game Warden’s vehicle barreled up the road, he pushed his friends to safety. He watched the car disappear down the road in the direction they’d just come, and he knew there must be an emergency somewhere for the warden to drive so fast in the campgrounds. Suddenly, the sound of a blaring car horn drew his gaze to the campsite the warden had just passed.

A 12-year-old boy was frantically honking the car horn while a man lay on the ground by the fire pit, clutching his chest.

Bellavigna sprang into action, running straight for the campsite and calling for Pannell to follow after him.

“I did start running over there thinking, ‘Heart attack, what am I going to do?’” Bellavigna said. “Then I see the blood, and that was when it registered: gunshot.”

It was later revealed that in a bizarre accident, the man’s loaded pistol had fallen out of his breast pocket when he stumbled on his way to make popcorn, firing a bullet that ricocheted against a rock before going through the man’s knee and lodging itself in his chest.

Pannell arrived at the campsite right after Bellavinga, with Doolin and Sellers in tow. She, too, realized this must have been the source of the gunshot and immediately began looking for the weapon. After quickly verifying the gun wasn’t in position to go off again, Pannell and Bellavigna got to work.

Both third-year nursing students at Langston, Pannell and Bellavigna’s training kicked in as they assessed the man’s injuries. Bellavigna began applying pressure to the man’s chest while Pannell scanned the campsite for anything that could be used to help Bellavigna staunch the flow of blood. She found a clothesline with clothes and towels hung to dry, grabbed them and handed them to Bellavigna.

“Asher worked on putting pressure on the guy’s knee where the bullet had entered at first,” Pannell said. “Then, as I’m looking up, I see that his upper half is covered in blood, so I’m trying to get his jackets and stuff off while holding pressure on the wound that was up there.”

As Bellavigna and Pannell worked, Doolin and Sellers got out of their way. Doolin’s face had gone pale at the sight of the man’s injuries, so Pannell directed him to chase after the warden’s car and bring him back. She asked Sellers to check on the boy, who had stopped honking the horn and was trying to wrangle his clearly distressed dog.

Doolin, a psychology major, ran for what felt like a mile to the end of the campground road until he finally caught up with the Game Warden’s vehicle. Doolin got the warden’s attention and told him that, if he was looking for someone who needed help, he passed him and needed to turn around.

The warden quickly turned the car around and headed back toward the campsite, leaving Doolin to walk back.

“I ain’t never run like that in a minute,” Doolin said. “I walked back. I took my time. I needed to catch my breath.”

Meanwhile, back at the campsite, Bellavigna and Pannell continued to administer first aid. The duo found themselves using the knowledge they learned in Langston University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions, such as the ABC’S (Airway, Breathing, Circulation and Safety).

Asher Bellavigna and Soli Pannell assist EMS and police while tending to an injured man.
Bellavigna and Pannell continued to assist the officers and EMS workers by holding flashlights when help arrived.

The man was experiencing an adrenaline rush in addition to the obvious blood loss, and he rambled as he tried to piece together how he shot himself. Because he was talking, they knew his airways were clear. The bullet clearly did not puncture his lung, and his breathing, although rapid from the shock and adrenaline, was uninterrupted. He was pale from blood loss, and the nursing students knew if he passed out there would be a whole other set of issues to deal with. So the two students tried to keep him talking.

“The main goal was for sure to keep him alert and oriented,” Pannell said. “You never want someone who’s losing that much blood to lose consciousness. So just keep them talking and everything like that.”

As they waited for help to arrive, Bellavigna and Pannell worked together as a team. Although they had never worked in clinical situations together before, they both said it felt seamless to work with each other. They kept cool heads, they communicated clearly and efficiently, and they didn’t let their senses of urgency turn into panic.

It was getting dark when the Game Warden arrived about 10 minutes later, and the group had begun using their phone flashlights to see. Bellavigna and Pannell had already put the man’s leg in a makeshift tourniquet, and they were cutting away clothes to find where exactly the bullet had lodged so as to better apply pressure. The warden was already on the phone with an emergency operator.

About 20 minutes later, the campsite was illuminated with the red and blue lights of an ambulance.

“Once the ambulance showed up (a paramedic) came and got me because I was still in the mode of trying to lock in,” Pannell said. “(The paramedic) said we did what we needed to do, so we stepped back and gave the story to the Game Warden and police for reporting.”

Bellavigna and Pannell, along with Doolin and Sellers, continued to help by holding flashlights for the paramedics as they picked up the work the two nursing students began.

The injured man was eventually airlifted to a hospital where he received life-saving treatment.

The friends returned to Bellavigna’s parents’ campsite, talking about everything that had happened as they tried to process the shocking turn their spring break trip had taken.

As the night pressed on, Bellavigna found himself unable to sleep as the events of the evening rushed through his head. He knew there was nothing more he could have done, but he couldn’t stop wondering if there was anything different the nursing duo should have done. For Pannell, the reality of saving the man’s life didn’t set in until the next day.

Although they had come to the Blue River to forget about school and destress, helping to save a man’s life confirmed for both students that they had chosen the right career path and were pursuing it at the right institution.

“Before I even got into nursing school, I knew I wanted to work in the ER or ICU,” Bellavigna said. “I like the faster pace and adrenaline. This is what I want to do; I wouldn’t mind spending a good portion of my life doing things like this… I’m on the right path. I’m on the right track.”

“I’d say similar feelings,” Pannell said. “I definitely had a realization of, ‘Oh, I can do this.’ … Having that type of experience just on a random base, a random moment, it really did confirm, ‘You’re good. You’re in the right field. You can do it.’” 

Students Jalani Woods, Asher Bellavigna, Mykah Sellers and Soli Pannell after saving a man's life at Blue Creek Campgrounds.
(From left to right) Doolin, Bellavigna, Sellers and Pannell’s quick actions helped save the gunshot victim’s life.
representatives of Langston University and Redlands Community College pose in front of an LU backdrop

Langston University School of Nursing and Health Professions, Redlands Community College sign agreement to expand nursing education opportunities

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A new agreement between the Langston University School of Nursing and Health Professions and Redlands Community College will allow graduates of Redlands’ nursing program to more easily obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Langston University. The agreement was formally signed Friday on the LU Langston campus.

According to the agreement, students who graduate from Redlands Community College with an associate degree in nursing will be able to transfer all prerequisite courses in which they earned a grade of “C” or higher to Langston University. Additionally, they will be given Advanced Placement credit for up to 30 hours for classes such as Fundamentals of Nursing Practice, Childbearing Family Nursing and Psychosocial Nursing. These benefits will allow students to complete their BSN degrees more quickly and at an affordable price.

The agreement was first signed on Dec. 6 and was effective immediately, but the April 19 signing was a more formal event to commemorate the new partnership, which will benefit both Oklahoma nursing students and the nursing profession as a whole.

“We want to help increase the number of nurses who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree,” said Dr. Teressa Hunter, the dean of Langston’s School of Nursing and Health Professions. “According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, ‘BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and their ability to practice across various inpatient and outpatient settings.’

“I fully support their statement and want to help meet the goal of educating more RNs who have earned a BSN. This articulation agreement with Redlands Community College is a significant step to help meet this goal.”

The School of Nursing and Health Professions offers students multiple ways to earn their BSN degrees. Students who prefer in-person instruction may take classes at Langston University’s Langston or Tulsa campuses or at the University’s Ardmore site. Students who are already registered nurses (RN) may also choose to complete their BSN online.

“We look forward to working with Langston as we continue to grow the nursing pipeline in the state,” said Redlands President Jena Marr. “We have dedicated substantial resources to meeting the demand for nurses, particularly in rural and tribal areas. An associate degree in nursing is a great step in this direction, but we are excited to partner with Langston to expand our efforts by supporting Redlands nursing graduates who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree.”

Langston University launched its online RN to BSN program in October 2023, allowing students to attend classes and complete assignments on a schedule that suits their needs with the convenience of not having to leave home. This format will also offer a personal connection within a supportive environment, which has decreased attrition, led to higher student satisfaction and enhanced learning. Students who are RNs can earn a BSN in 9 or 12 months, depending on their chosen course plan.

The deadline for applications for fall 2024 admission to the LU traditional nursing program has passed, but the application deadline for spring admission to Tulsa and Ardmore is Oct. 1, 2024. The deadline for fall admission to the RN-to-BSN program is July 27, 2024. The deadline to apply for admission to the Redlands’ general nursing program has passed, but the LPN-to-RN application opens Sept. 1, 2024.




Langston University is Oklahoma’s only Historically Black College or University. Made up of six academic schools and offering 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, LU provides students with a world-class education that includes hands-on learning through impactful research and beneficial internships. LU has campuses in Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as a site in Ardmore.

Redlands Community College provides a learner-centered environment committed to academic excellence strengthened through service and civic engagement. Redlands’ rich academic environment provides opportunities for continuous growth through a challenging and rigorous curriculum enhanced by the application of research and technology, and the college engages in collaboration with public and private partners that reinforce the value of service to others and strengthen ethical development and civic engagement.

Amber Bradford-Nealy headshot

A New Generation of Healthcare Leaders Emerge from the Soil of Public Education

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OU Health Appoints Amber Nealy as Its First African American Chief Nursing Officer

by Deena V. Thomas, OKCPS Retired Educator and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Educational roots matter.

A child’s first teachers are their parents and grandparents, absorbing deep-rooted instruction in the home, followed by the fundamental academics of teaching and learning, cultivated and nurtured in common education. Lastly, the preparation process to enter the workforce is taught and mentored during the journey toward post-secondary educational attainment.

These pathways led Amber Bradford-Nealy to walk directly into executive nursing leadership, which she says is her God-given purpose.

Her purpose and His plan came to fruition. The University of Oklahoma (OU) Health named Amber Nealy, MSN, R.N., NE-BC, as the inaugural Chief Nursing Officer of Ambulatory and Cancer Services (CNO).

Nealy is the first black to hold this position of CNO at OU Health, earmarking a significant milestone in Black History within the Sooner State.

“In a quote for the organization, I was asked about diversity why it mattered to me, and why does it make a difference. Why does it matter whether or not we have a diverse workforce? I think it matters because Oklahoma City’s Eastside and Spencer community students and the next generation need to see people who look like them in places and spaces where they aspire to be. It is good to know they may have a similar background or upbringing as they have had, so then it lets them know what they aspire to be is not so far off,” Nealy said.

Since December 2020, Nealy served as Director of Nursing at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, infusing her knowledge, experience, and relationships, which propelled her into the CNO role.

Nealy has been with OU Health since 2008, starting as a Nurse Partner in the inpatient Adult Medicine Specialty Unit, where she worked as a Clinical RN, Clinical Supervisor, and Clinical Manager. Additionally, Nealy held the position of the Director of Adult Endoscopy.

Nealy has served as the Chair of the Nursing Ancillary and Advisory Council for Epic Implementation, as well as a vast array of other committees. She is a certified Nurse Executive by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Nealy was first introduced to the health field at the Oklahoma University Health Science Center (OUHSC) when she was a junior at Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) Northeast Academy of Health Sciences and Engineering.

“We were the first graduating class of Northeast Academy of Health Sciences and Engineering, completing grades sixth through 12, and many of us referred to the academy as a social experiment of our time,” she laughs. “I remember my teacher, Mrs. Bessie Bryant, bringing us to OUHSC’s student union to attend class a few days a week. I had many great experiences while going through the OUHSC program, which opened up several healthcare opportunities right before my eyes,” Nealy said.

OKCPS Superintendent, Dr. Sean McDaniel heads up the state’s largest school district. He emphasized the most important key driving force is the collective relationship building that takes place in every school.

“Our building leaders, teachers, and staff know our students by name and by need and provide encouragement and counsel, while also connecting them to the resources that will help them on their journey to post-secondary success, whatever that may look like for each student. For students who have the desire to attend college, career tech, enter the workplace, or head to the military, it is imperative that the district offers a variety of resources and opportunities for them to be successful after graduation,” McDaniel said.

After high school graduation, Nealy had planned to attend a community college and seek a nursing degree, which would have been free. Instead, she went in a different direction and headed north to Langston University (LU). She qualified for the full-ride Edwin P. McCabe scholarship, which is awarded to first-time freshmen entering college after high school graduation.

“LU found me! Everything was paid for, my books, my food, my fees, and my room and board. I did not have to come out of pocket for anything, which was so comforting for me. Langston University’s nursing program was competitive and offered a challenging curriculum,” Nealy said.

LU’s interim President, Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson stands firm, saying its School of Nursing and Health Professions is shaped intentionally to exceed the nation’s nursing standards.

“Langston University’s nursing program goes beyond these fundamentals by integrating content that addresses healthcare disparities and seeks to improve health outcomes in underserved populations. Additionally, our program also places a strong emphasis on leadership development, preparing graduates to assume leadership and advocacy roles within a variety of healthcare settings,” Jackson said.

Dr. Teressa Hunter, LU’s Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, says it is the school’s mission that drives the rigor.

“Langston University’s nursing curriculum is purposefully designed to be rigorous to support our students, so they are equipped to navigate clinical practice and leadership roles with a focus on the best outcomes. It is crucial to teach our students that when faced with challenges, they need to know how to respond positively, and when challenges come, rewards often follow,” Hunter said.

LU Director of Alumni, Rachel Goff-Belmon, and Nealy have four common bonds. The two are LU graduates, McCabe scholars, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., (DST), and were classmates during their undergraduate years.

“I served as the President of the Beta Upsilon Chapter of DST for several years in college. This position allowed me to grow my supervisory skills and experience in stewarding others,” Nealy said.

“Soror Nealy’s administration style is to lead by example. She demonstrated this by keeping the chapter in compliance with her organizational skills. She orchestrated the chapter’s efforts to implement programs that align with the sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust and modeled her commitment to academic excellence through her high graduate point average (GPA),” Belmon said.

Belmon stressed Nealy rendered wholehearted ‘service’ by assisting fellow nursing students while demonstrating a deep understanding of the importance of diversity in the nursing field.

Nealy says OU Health supported her desire to continue as a lifelong learner.

“OU Health as an organization has put in place many programs to pursue higher education and advanced training or advanced certification, which benefit the working adult,” she said.

Nealy completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2009, graduating Magna Summa Laude with, a 3.50 GPA. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing, with a focus on nursing management and leadership, made available by OU Health’s tuition reimbursement program. Currently, Nealy is working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a degree-accelerated program, supported by OU Health partnership in collaboration with the OU College of Nursing, and the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing. Her DNP is a terminal degree, which is scheduled to be conferred in May 2025.

“As an OU Health employee, the program pays for my tuition, books, and fees. Each step has afforded me something different. In terms of the MSN level, I learned a lot about leadership styles and ways of communicating with your team. At the DNP level, we look at problem system-level issues and try to understand how we can improve the organization as a whole. OU Health has invested in me as an individual employee,” Nealy said.

Nealy’s family planted the first seeds into her future long before her birth. Those first seeds were germinated, watered, and fertilized by her parents, as well as the other public educational institutions. Now, those seeds have sprouted and bore fruit to reveal her journey and countless outcomes that are more far-reaching than one can calculate in dollars and cents – Priceless.

However, Nealy says it is the humble, sacrificial contributions of her grandparents. Both grandparents were farmers, the Watts from the all-black township of Boley, and the Bradfords from the small rural town of Mason. They gave all that they had in the selling of land and livestock that kept her grounded.

“My father, the second youngest of 10 children, tells stories of when he was a child and how there was not enough food to eat. His mother would go without eating, so her children would not go hungry. My parents always instilled in us kids that they wanted us to be better and go further than what they had done. I believe that part of my recognition of their humble beginnings is to go further because they have afforded me those opportunities. I can stand on their shoulders,” she said.

Amber Nealy is reaping the harvest, having earned a seat at the bountiful table, where healthcare decisions and policies are shaped and governed.

“From where I sit, I want to be a light,” Nealy said.


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions is pleased to announce one of its hallmark programs will be available online starting this spring.

The new online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is available to registered nurses (RN’s) looking to further their careers in nursing. The program can be completed in 9 or 12 months, depending on the student’s preferred class schedule.
For more than 40 years, Langston University has been home to one of the best accredited nursing programs in Oklahoma. Under the direction of Dr. Teressa Hunter, the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, the program has continued to grow.

The online BSN degree is available to students admitted to the Langston University main campus, the Langston University Tulsa campus or the Langston University Ardmore site.

The Langston University Tulsa campus is now accepting applications for the Spring 2024 semester. The early admission deadline is Oct. 16.

For more information about the online RN to BSN program, please contact a Langston University Nursing advisor at one of the three sites:

Langston/ Main Campus: 405-466-3415
Tulsa Campus: 918-877-8123
Ardmore Site: 580-319-0317

Langston University 2023 White House HBCU Scholars graphic


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston, Okla. – Two Langston University students have been named 2023 White House HBCU Scholars, marking the first time two Langston students have received the honor in one academic year.

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities announced its 2023 HBCU Scholars on July 20, and Langston’s Lovette Mba and Charina Lancaster were among the 102 undergraduate, graduate and professional students to receive the honor.

“We are very excited that Lovette and Charina have been selected to represent Langston University as 2023 White House Initiatives on HBCU Scholars,” said Dr. Alonzo Peterson, the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. “These two students represent some of the best and brightest students here at the university. They are not only great students but render great service to the Langston University community.”

Since 2014, the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has recognized exceptional HBCU students who have excelled in the areas of academic achievement, civic and campus engagement and entrepreneurial ethos.

Mba and Lancaster are the seventh and eighth Langston students to be recognized as White House HBCU Scholars since the program’s inception.

“I am honored to be chosen as a 2023 White House Initiative on HBCUs Scholar,” said Lancaster, a 2023 nursing graduate. “Being chosen is an exciting opportunity and I am proud to be a scholar representing Langston University, the only HBCU in the state of Oklahoma. Langston University has provided me with a great education, a wide range of opportunities, a powerful network providing many connections on campus within and outside of my major of nursing.”

This year’s cohort is the largest ever and includes students from 70 HBCU’s throughout the country.

White House HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors for the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the U.S. Department of Education and their respective academic institutions for the academic year. They will receive several networking and professional development opportunities throughout the year, including at the 2023 HBCU Week National Conference from Sept. 24-28.

“We know that they will take full advantage of opportunities to engage the other scholars, initiative staff, and industry partners on questions of innovation, leadership, and personal and professional development,” Dr. Peterson said. “Most importantly, we want Lovette and Charina to bring those experiences back to Langston University and share them with other students. This is a great opportunity for Lovette and Charina to help other Langston Lions with the knowledge they gain from the conference and the monthly master classes they will attend.”

Mba, a senior business management major, said she applied to the program because it aligns with her goals of community revitalization and economic development, and she’s excited to see what she will learn and what she can bring back to the Langston community.

“It is a great way to network with professionals in the industry I desire to work in and learn more about my passion for economic development on the national level,” Mba said. “I’m ecstatic to represent Langston University as a White House HBCU Scholar, and I cannot wait to experience all the new opportunities that come with the honor.”

Likewise, Lancaster said she’s excited to share her experiences and help the Langston community grow.

“I hope that by being chosen as a 2023 HBCU Scholar that I can help provide future high school graduates from New Mexico with information about Langston University and share my experience with them,” Lancaster said.

Porsha Richardson headshot


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Jet Turner, Langston University Office of Public Relations


Porsha Richardson had to be strong for her granny.

At 6 years old, going to Granny’s house after school was the norm. But when Porsha eagerly opened the door, she did not see Granny on the couch or in the kitchen; instead, Porsha heard her call from the bedroom.

Even though she knew Granny was sick, Porsha could not help but feel thrilled to be back in the bedroom with her. Porsha learned how to play Solitaire and Go-Fish in the room-filling king-sized bed Granny would be resting in. Granny’s bright smile always shined in her memories.

But as she walked into the bedroom, Porsha did not see card games strewn across the bed. Granny was not smiling.

“Come here Porsha, I need your help,” Granny said.

Granny was laying toward the foot of the bed. One leg dangling off the footboard, the other wrapped in a bandage.

“I need you to be strong for me, Porsha,” Granny said. “I need you to put medication on my new scar.”

Granny’s battle with diabetes lead to her having half her leg amputated.

Porsha grabbed the ointment and began to remove Granny’s bandage as instructed. As the cloth fell the fresh stitching revealed itself, traversing Granny’s new leg like train tracks. Porcha looked into the eyes of her Granny, and they pleaded for reassurance. Any apprehension Porsha felt at the time melted away. She knew she could not show Granny the fear that almost overcame her.

Porsha swallowed her final traces of dread and began applying the ointment to her Granny’s new wound.

After the ointment was applied and a bandage was wrapped neatly around the wound, Granny smiled at Porsha.

“You did a great job,” Granny said. “You should consider being a nurse one day.”

Porsha agreed.


When it came time for Porsha Richardson to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse, Langston University was the only choice that made sense. Not only is Richardson the daughter and younger sister of Langston University alumni, but the highly touted School of Nursing and Health Professions drew Richardson to Dear Langston.

As she first walked into her Fundamentals of Nursing class, Richardson knew she was home.

“I was super excited to finally get a chance to be a part of the program, and to go to a school that my father and older sister had also attended,” Richardson said. “My dad was super proud.”

But Richardson quickly found achieving her dream of becoming a nurse was not going to be easy.

Dr. Lynnie Skeen greeted Richardson at the door as she found her seat in the plain classroom. Later, she would begin taking classes with Dr. Teressa Hunter. These professors quickly became mentors to the young nursing major who, initially, only wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse.

“Soon I found out that this is work,” Richardson said. “This is real work. I was not expecting nursing to be hard for me. I was thinking it would be the easiest thing because I always loved it.

“So Dr. Hunter pushed me. She pushed me to be better. She pushed me to be great. She did not settle for just anything. You had to earn every point, and so I earned every point. To this day it means a lot to me that I earned that degree.”

Richardson earned her nursing degree from Langston University in 2005 and was ready for anything the profession could throw at her.

But it was Dr. Skeen who told Richardson to not only consider graduate school but convinced her to be hands-on in her studies and move to Georgia so Richardson could attend her graduate studies in-person.

“I just took Dr. Skeen’s advice,” Richardson said. “If it were not for her, I would not have applied to graduate school. She knew my strengths and continued to invest in me as a student. These are things that I have always admired about the nursing professors at Langston University. The ability to see each individual student as unique individuals who have strengths and abilities that even they themselves may not know of.”

Richardson earned her master’s degree in 2009, from Emory University, in Atlanta, GA.


Richardson has owned her own medical practice since 2018. Located in Midwest City, Uptown Medical Center allows her to continue her dream of helping and nurturing patients. During the Fall 2022 semester, Richardson received a phone call from Dr. Hunter.

“Dr. Hunter said she needed a Women’s Health Instructor,” Richardson said. “I ask ‘when do I start?’”

Richardson has always had a heart for service. From nursing her Granny at 6 years old to her medical practice today, she knew it was time to give to the next generation of Langston University nurses.

When it was time to be an adjunct professor at Langston University, Richardson answered the call to teach Childbearing (Women’s Health) and Psychosocial Nursing.

And she never forgot the treatment she received at Langston University. Dear Langston instilled in Richardson and all its nursing majors an unmatched worth ethic that persists throughout their careers. Richardson knows any of her patients can be trusted in the hands of Langston University School of Nursing and Health Sciences graduates. Nursing at Langston is not an easy major, but it will prepare you for the real world.

“I heavily believe in the nursing program at Langston University, and the foundation on which it stands,” Richardson said. “It has changed the trajectory of my life, and so I owe this program a lot. My school needed me, so it was the least I could do to answer the call. My professors and school helped me so much, and I wanted to give that same help back.

“I am still that same nurse that helped my Granny at 6 years old. Taking care of people is what I do, and I love what I do. I am contributing to my community, and I am helping it not only with my medical practice, but by teaching our future nursing students too. I am proud to be a Langston graduate.”



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TULSA, Okla. – Langston University commemorated the opening of a state-of-the-art Allied Health Facility on its Tulsa Campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Wednesday.

The 17,000-square-foot building, home to the Langston University School of Nursing and Health Professions in Tulsa, was built through a $16.25 million allotment from Vision Tulsa. The facility includes simulation labs with mannikins powered by artificial intelligence, spacious classrooms, a lecture hall, conference and meeting rooms, and department and administrative office spaces.

Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University, opened the program with remarks recounting the journey to create the new facility. In 2015, Langston University proposed the construction of the facility to Tulsa City Council for consideration and inclusion in Vision Tulsa. “At the time of our proposal, the pandemic was still unknown to us,” Smith said. “The construction of this facility could not have been more timely. Our new facility provides the very best healthcare education to students interested in pursuing a career in nursing and health professions.”

The Langston University – Tulsa Allied Health Facility was built with three objectives in mind: to enhance access to education in Tulsa, to meet the needs of the healthcare workforce, and to reduce health disparities in North Tulsa.
The grand opening event was well attended by Langston University students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as members of the Tulsa community. Mayor G.T. Bynum congratulated Langston University for opening a facility, which provides a direct positive impact on the Tulsa community. “The new Allied Health Facility on the Langston University Tulsa campus will help prepare students to fill a workforce need in the Tulsa area,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Thank you to Tulsa voters for approving Vision Tulsa that made this $16.25 million economic development project possible.”

Several notable community members attended the event to celebrate the grand opening. Tulsa City Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper addressed the attendees at the event, remarking on the importance of funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Langston University. Partners who were instrumental in completing the project such as Beck Design, Flintco Construction, and Oklahoma State University Long Range Facilities Planning, were also in attendance.

Dr. Dytisha Davis, Executive Director for the Langston University – Tulsa Campus, was recognized for her leadership in the project, for which planning began in 2018. Dr. Teressa Hunter, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Langston University, recognized the faculty and students for their support of the new facility and shared her thoughts on the importance of the project. “This new facility paves the way for current and future healthcare providers,” said Hunter. “It is poised to fulfill the legacy of Langston University as the promise-keepers, trailblazers, and guardians of the high standard built by Langston University School of Nursing graduates.”

President Smith announced his intension to name the new facility after former Tulsa City Councilman Jack Henderson, pending final approval by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma A & M Colleges. “It cannot be understated how important Jack Henderson was to the success of this project,” said Smith. “He is a true champion for our mission and he made this project possible.”

The program included a formal ribbon cutting followed by tours of the new facility led by Langston University Nursing students and faculty.


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Written by Christina Gray

Langston University welcomes the inaugural nursing class at the Ardmore extension at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma. Classes began on January 22nd. The center hosted a student orientation for the 14 students in the four-year program last Tuesday.

This new initiative is geared to help meet the demand of the state’s nursing shortage. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offered in Ardmore is the same program as the one on the Langston campuses in Langston and Tulsa. The course offerings include an RN-BSN and an LPN-BSN track. Admission for the nursing program in Ardmore is now closed until January 2020.

Langston University is a public historically black college and university enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. This Spring, the inaugural nursing class has begun classes at the Langston University Ardmore extension at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma. LU has been recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability, ranking number three among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S., according to Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at


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By Christina Gray

The University Center of Southern Oklahoma (UCSO) was recently approved to offer a bachelor’s program for nursing students from Langston University. Recruiting for its staff will begin in the fall, and classes will start in spring 2019.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offered in Ardmore will be the same program as the one on the Langston campuses in Langston and Tulsa. The course offerings will also include an RN-BSN and an LPN-BSN track. 

The new program offering provides the community an affordable and local option.  

“We plan to admit at least 24 qualified students spring 2019 with an increase in the number of admissions each spring,” said Dr. Teressa Hunter, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions.  

“ The increase in the number of admissions will depend on the hiring of additional qualified faculty and clinical sites availability.”

Before the approval of the program, Langston University administrators met with the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce to discuss the community’s needs and requested a Community Needs Assessment for Ardmore, something the University Center hasn’t done since 2007. 

A recent news article in the Daily Ardmoreite quoted that ”Langston University has been wonderful to work with,” UCSO Interim CEO Peggy Maher said.  

“I especially like their commitment to working with the Ardmore community. They’ve met with the Chamber of Commerce, and they went to superintendents, they want to find out what Ardmore’s needs are.“  

“Our goal was to survey the local patrons to find out what the community wanted from the program,” said Mautra Jones, Langston University Vice President of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs.  

“We wanted to make sure that our program would ultimately to fit the needs of the surrounding community.” 

In addition to the nursing program, Langston University’s administrators submitted a list of other possible degree programs to bring to UCSO in the future. The list included agriculture programs, criminal justice, cybersecurity, natural resources, conservation, and animal science.