Florida campus still in works


Gannon University’s campus in Ruskin, Fla., is flourishing as the school prepares to begin classes.

A team of construction workers and architects have been hired to complete the building. The new campus is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed and fully functional by July.

Gannon’s goal for the new campus is to give the students in Ruskin the same experience as the students in Erie.

The campus in Ruskin will also include classrooms, labs, offices, conference rooms and scholarship space.

Currently, an enrollment adviser and a program director for the occupational therapy doctorate program have been hired, but Gannon is seeking more faculty and staff.

About six faculty and staff members will be in place for the first year, with a target of about 20 to 30 full-time employees.

Steven Mauro, Ph.D., the dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences, said he thinks the campus in Florida will allow for more opportunities.

“It’s going to have a very strong influence and it’s going to allow us in Erie to have that recognition in Florida to bring students up into our undergraduate and graduate programs here,” Mauro said. “It should be nothing but positive experiences all the way around.

Gannon announced the addition of the new campus in late October. The campus is located in Ruskin, which is south of Tampa and across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg.

The Florida site was chosen because of the increasing demand for health professionals in areas that serve the health care part of the Florida economy.

Florida was also chosen as the site for the new campus because the community in Ruskin allows Gannon to do the community outreach that it is known for.

Student recruitment for the new campus has been going smoothly, Mauro said. Students who are currently at Gannon, as well as from other schools around the area and also students in Florida have expressed interest.

The occupational therapy doctorate program is the only program available right now, but Gannon is moving forward with offering the physical therapy program and possibly an athletic training program as well.

The first three classes for the occupational therapy program will be taken online starting in June. This allows students to get acclimated and ease their way into the program. Classes taking place on the campus will begin in late August.

The target enrollment for the first year is about 30 students and the program is close to reaching their goal.

Mauro said he thinks the new campus will help Gannon achieve national recognition.

“Being in a different geographic location allows us to continue to enhance our footprint in the Erie region and to move from that regional distinction to one of a national awareness,” Mauro said.

The official date for the launch of the new campus is Aug. 19. The grand opening and blessing ceremony will take place in Ruskin and will be similar to ceremonies conducted for other new Gannon buildings.

The bishop of Erie and the bishop of St. Petersburg will conduct the blessing ceremony, which will be attended by students of the first inaugural class.

“Our launch coming up is going to be one that is setting new thresholds of achievement for all of Gannon,” Mauro said. “I’m really proud to be a part of it.”


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