by Sarah Powell

University of West Georgia Newnan is home to the newly dedicated Joe H. Harless Simulation Lab, made possible by a donation of $100,000 from various donors. Bob Coggin, an avid supporter of UWG Newnan, spearheaded the effort to collect the sizable gift.

Joe H. Harless Simulation LabCoggin and his fellow donors wanted a way to honor the late Dr. Joe H. Harless, who is credited with having the vision of turning the historic Newnan Hospital into a college.

“I felt it was critically important that we named something in this building to memorialize him,” said Coggin. “He was brilliant, and he was a visionary.”

Harless, an active resident of Newnan with many accomplishments throughout his life, is known internationally for his groundbreaking work in the human performance technology field. He headed The Harless Performance Guild, authored more than 20 books, and served on the adjunct faculties of Florida State University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, and Catholic University of America. Harless was elected to the Human Resources Hall of Fame in 1988 and was awarded the Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award by the International Society for Performance Improvement in 1996.

Harless knew the value of bringing higher education to Newnan. He was an organizer of the Commission for Higher Education, which worked to get more college classes and programs to locate to Newnan. He played a central role in the conceptualization and opening of Newnan’s Central Education Center in 2000. Years later, he went on to play a pivotal role in the opening of UWG Newnan.

“When the Newnan Hospital Authority chose to close the historic hospital, Joe Harless was the one who said that it should be turned into a college,” said Coggin. “He knew what it would do for our community.”

His vision came to life when UWG Newnan opened its doors in the renovated hospital in 2015.

Today, UWG Newnan serves nearly 1,000 students, offering six undergraduate programs and two graduate programs. 

Joe H. Harless Simulation LabApproximately 135 students pursuing a nursing degree currently utilize the Joe H. Harless Simulation Lab. The clinical simulations are part of a teaching strategy that gives nursing students hands-on, interactive instruction. It looks nearly identical to a hospital setting, but instead of patients, students nurse human patient simulators back to health.

Samantha Graham, a senior in UWG Newnan’s nursing program, referred to the lab as her “second home.” She has spent many hours refining her nursing skills there. 

“Practicing in the lab has made me way more confident going into the real world,” she shared.

A small ceremony was held on Feb. 1 for the unveiling of the simulation lab’s new name. Attendees were able to see the simulation lab in action at the event.

For more information, view this video on the nursing simulation program.

Photos courtesy of the Newnan Times-Herald

Posted on April 16, 2020