SUNY Orange Cuts Ribbon on Nursing Lab Expansion

NEWBURGH – In celebration of its expanded Newburgh campus nursing program and the renovation of classroom and lab spaces to accommodate the additional students, SUNY Orange hosted approximately 60 community partners, friends of the College, employees and students in Kaplan Hall for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday (March 7).

Earlier this Spring, the College welcomed 24 additional new students into the Newburgh campus nursing program, expanding the program by 50 percent. To accommodate that expansion, the College renovated one classroom and transformed another into a six-bed simulation laboratory, thanks in part to one-time State University of New York (SUNY) incremental funding the College received in the Summer of 2022 to support enrollment and retention initiatives.

The College allocated a portion of its funds to examining the feasibility of expanding the nursing program in Newburgh. Through that study, the College was able to identify available space, complete necessary renovations and purchase the equipment needed to accommodate the additional students.

Thursday’s celebration featured remarks from New York State Senator Rob Rolison, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Deputy Orange County Executive Harry Porr, SUNY Orange Board Chair Ralph Martucci Jr., SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young, Nursing Department Chairperson Dr. Pat Russell and Nursing Student Kaitlen Murillo-Solis. Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis presented the College with a certificate of recognition on behalf of State Senator James Skoufis.

Following the official portion of the ceremony, speakers and guests adjourned to the third floor nursing wing of Kaplan Hall where Murillo-Solis cut the ribbon in front of Rooms 301 and 302 where the nursing program’s new classroom and simulation lab are located.

Murillo-Solis, a Middletown resident who grew up in Newburgh and is serving as president of the Newburgh Campus Nursing Club, is in her third-semester in the program and plans to graduate in December. “I want to become a nurse because I have a strong passion for helping others. I am a first-generation college student and will be a first-generation nurse. I bring a strong work ethic from my family and am so grateful to the faculty and thankful for this program, I know all dreams are possible. I could not be prouder to come from this College.”

“We received an infusion of resources and support from SUNY, and we appreciate the continued support we receive from Orange County and New York State,” Young explained. “This occasion, this ribbon cutting, helps us achieve one-third of our strategic plan as well as supporting the economic vibrancy of Orange County and specifically, Newburgh.”

The 24 new students who joined the program this Spring entered the nation’s oldest associate degree nursing program. SUNY Orange is long renowned for its nursing program’s excellence and for producing highly competent and skilled graduates who, upon graduation, are immediately in high demand locally and regionally.

“The path does begin here,” noted Rolison, a former Dutchess County legislator and past member of the Dutchess Community College Board of Trustees, as he highlighted the role community colleges play in their service areas. “What you do here helps everyone out there, everywhere. I want to say thank you to Dr. Young and the team. This is amazing.”
“Community colleges allow for better lives in our state and our county,” added Duncan-Poitier. “I absolutely love nurses. This is a shining example of what resources can do and with additional resources, you could expand even more. What I appreciate about this ribbon cutting that is different from others is it is not something that is ‘going’ to happen, this is happening right now and it is amazing.”

The SUNY Orange nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which lays out a rigorous degree-specific curriculum designed to assure graduates are well-prepared and proficient. In testing data covering the 2023 calendar year, recent SUNY Orange nursing graduates far exceeded state and national averages on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) with 93.7 percent of the College’s alumni who took the exam in 2023 passing on the first attempt.

Graduates from the Middletown campus evening nursing program enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate on their first attempt, while the Middletown day program grads posted a 96.2 percent pass rate and the Newburgh graduates passed at an 85.7 percent rate on their initial attempt. The national pass rate for associate degree programs was 88.5 percent while the New York State pass rate was 84.4 percent.

For more information on the SUNY Orange Nursing program, contact Russell at, or visit


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