Online University Partners with One of Top Hospitals

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<p><strong>Orange Beach, Ala. &mdash; June 12</strong><br />Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System, repeatedly ranked as one of America&rsquo;s 50 best hospitals by <em>U.S. News and World Report</em>, recently partnered with Columbia Southern University to take advantage of a large selection of completely online degree programs.&nbsp; </p><p>As the second-largest acute-care public hospital in Florida, Sarasota Memorial employs more than 3,000 people who, along with their spouses and children, will receive a 10 percent tuition discount as a result of this partnership. &nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;We are always looking for ways to enhance the educational opportunities for our staff,&rdquo; said Gwen MacKenzie, Sarasota Memorial president and CEO. &ldquo;Online degree programs like those offered at Columbia Southern University make it easier for our employees to fulfill their personal and professional aspirations, and since we offer generous tuition reimbursement benefits, easier for us to support them in their efforts.&rdquo;<br /><br />Average savings come to around $1,000 for a bachelor&#39;s or master&#39;s degree. </p><p>&ldquo;Columbia Southern University was founded on the principle that a quality education should be affordable and realistic for working adults,&rdquo; said Robert Mayes, Columbia Southern University president. &ldquo;We keep our tuition low and online offerings high because we feel that everyone has a right to a quality education.&rdquo; <br /><br />Another advantage of the agreement includes promotion of the hospital on the university Web site, marketing materials and at conferences and speaking engagements.&nbsp; </p><p>The Columbia Southern University Web site attracts visitors from all around the world and receives about 20,000 hits per week, giving the hospital global publicity opportunities. <br /><br />Sarasota Memorial Hospital is an 806-bed regional medical center just south of Tampa on Florida&rsquo;s Gulf Coast.&nbsp; </p><p>Founded in 1925, it is a full-service facility with specialized expertise in heart, cancer and neuroscience services.&nbsp; </p><p>A Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit, clinical research center, outpatient services, home health and long-term care are among its many programs. <br /><br />Columbia Southern University also holds learning partnerships with 12 other corporations, including Delta Air Lines, Boeing, Airtrek Air Ambulance and the Federal Protective Service. <br /><br />All Columbia Southern University degree programs are accredited through the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), a nationally recognized accrediting agency with the U.S. Department of Education.&nbsp; </p>

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