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History

1885

1885

The Board of Managers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania voted to establish a training school for nurses. 

1886

1886

Charlotte Marie Hugo, a native of Devonshire, England, is appointed the first Superintendent of Nurses and Directress of Nurses in the Training School. She was the first woman to serve as an officer of instruction at the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to serve as an academic administrator at Penn. The Board of Managers of the Hospital simultaneously elected her Superintendent of the Hospital. She was the first woman to serve as a Superintendent of the Hospital and the first woman to serve as chief administrative officer in any school, resource center, or affiliate of the University. 

1886

1886

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)* Training School for Nurses is founded and is the fourth academic program at Penn to admit women from its inception, though its course did not lead to a degree.

*HUP was often also referred to as University Hospital in the early years.

1887

1887

HUP Training School awards its first diploma in nursing to Mary J. Burns.

1888

1888

Annie L. Locke assumes the role of Superintendent of Nurses and Directress of Nurses in the Training School.

1888

1888

The first class of the two year diploma program–12 students–participates in the first graduation ceremony at the School. Classes in the diploma program include hygiene, gynecology, obstetrics, care of children, and diseases of the eye, ear, skin, and kidneys.

1890

1890

Mary E.P. Davis, one of the founders of the National League for Nursing, becomes Superintendent and makes several changes to the program, including the extension of the program from two to three years. The three‐year course remained the standard until the School was closed in 1978. 

1893

1893

Nurses Alumnae Association of the Training School for Nurses is founded under guidance of Jane Delano, who would go on to be Superintendent of the United States Army Nurse Corps. The Association was chartered in 1910. 

1903

1903

The Alumnae Association of the training school bands together with other alumnae associations in Pennsylvania to found the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association. HUP graduate, Anna Brobson, is elected its first president.  

1903

1903

Marion E. Smith, formerly the Chief Nurse at Philadelphia General Hospital, is appointed director of the school and leads it through a period of stability and growth.

1909

1909

Pennsylvania passes the “Act of General Assembly No. 203” instituting state registration for nurses. Mary Arnold Baker, a 1907 graduate of HUP, is the first HUP nurse to become an “R.N.”

1935

1935

The School of Education at Penn establishes a Department of Nursing Education that offers an undergraduate, professional nursing degree in education. The establishment of this department is seen as the founding of the modern (but not yet independent) School of Nursing at Penn. The program is first led by Katherine Tucker, who was appointed Professor and Director of the department, a position which she retained until her retirement in 1949.

1937

1937

A program leading to the Master of Science in Education with a major in nursing education is established in the School of Education.  

1944

1944

A School of Nursing is established within the Medical School’s Division of Medical Affairs, under the direction of Theresa I. Lynch, HUP’20, offering a five‐year Bachelor of Science in Nursing.   

1944

1944

Penn awards diplomas in Nursing to 29 women graduates of the HUP School of Nursing – this is the first class of the HUP SON to be recognized by the University at its commencement.  

1950

1950

An independent School of Nursing at Penn is established offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education. Theresa Inez Lynch, HUP’20, is appointed Professor of Nursing and Dean of the School. She is the first woman to be appointed an academic Dean at Penn and would serve until 1965. 

1953

1953

Penn Nursing receives accreditation from the National League for Nurses for its programs leading to baccalaureate degrees – the same year, programs leading to the BS in Nursing Education are discontinued. The School is also authorized by the University Trustees to offer a two‐year program in nursing leading to an Associate’s degree in Applied Science. This program was discontinued in the 60s.  

1961

1961

The Graduate Division of the School of Nursing is established and students are admitted to programs leading to the Master of Science in Nursing.  

1962

1962

HUP welcomes Iris Machlan Gross, HUP’46, Ed’49, GEd’54, who served until 1978 as the School’s final Director. While the HUP School was first opened as a “Training School,” today’s living alumni have shared that Ms. Gross would have never referred to the School as a training school, and viewed HUP students and graduates as among the leading pupils in nursing education. Gross was viewed by HUP students and alumni as a strong leader.

1965

1965

Dr. Dorothy Mereness, a noted psychiatric nurse, is appointed the second dean of the School of Nursing, serving until 1977. Dr. Mereness reorganized the master’s programs to be more in accordance with the developing specializations in nursing. A graduate program preparing the Family Nurse Clinician is implemented under her leadership. 

1972

1972

First male nursing student, Maurie Glick, graduates from HUP.

1974

1974

After the University accepts responsibility for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, its Board of Trustees votes in early 1974 to close the nursing school that had existed within the Hospital since 1886. 

1975

1975

Marks the launch of an innovative program for family nurse practitioners.

1976

1976

Dr. Claire Muriel Mintzer Fagin becomes Dean of the School of Nursing. She is the third woman to be appointed Dean of the School, and the 6th woman to be named an academic dean at Penn. Dr. Fagin served as Dean until 1991, when she was elected Dean Emerita and Leadership Professor in the School of Nursing. In April 1993, the Trustees appointed her Interim President and Chief Executive of the University. With her vision to strengthen and expand the clinical specialty focus initiated by Dean Mereness, Fagin increased the number of standing faculty from six to 47. The newly appointed faculty established midwifery, primary care, gerontology, and oncology programs. Dr. Fagin recruited faculty to the Center for Nursing Research, the Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, the Low Birth Weight Research Center, the Center for Health Services and Policy Research, and the Serious Illness Center. 

1977

1977

Florence Downs is appointed Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

1978

1978

Florence Downs establishes the first doctoral program in nursing at an Ivy League university.  

1978

1978

The last class of the School of Nursing of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) graduates. During the 92 years of the School’s existence, the Hospital educated and graduated more than 5,000 registered nurses. All nursing education at Penn is brought under the School of Nursing. 

1984

1984

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing degree is approved by the University, replacing the Doctor of Nursing Science degree.

1988

1988

School of Nursing is the first nursing school in the US to be officially designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC) for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. Penn Nursing has been re-designated every four years since 1988.

1988

1988

The Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR) is founded by Dr. Linda Aiken at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing.

Provost Michael Aiken has announced the first three Trustee Professors named in the University’s new program for bringing in leading outside scholars. Dr. Aiken has already begun to use the Trustee Professorship’s research funding component on three projects. 

“The mission of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR) is to develop the science of how nursing contributes to achieving good patient outcomes and the evidence base for managing the nurse workforce to meet national and global healthcare needs,” says Center Director Linda Aiken, HOM ’88, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing and Professor of Sociology. “We apply scientific findings to improve evidence-based decision-making in practice and policy.”

 

1989

1989

The Center for Health Services and Policy Research, directed by Dr. Linda Aiken, and the Low Birth Weight Research Center enable clusters of faculty and students to mount systematic programs of research and train student researchers. 

1992

1992

Dr. Norma Lang joins the faculty as Dean, and continues Penn’s educational and research initiatives at a high level with a concentrated effort to invest in and integrate faculty practice, culminating in the establishment of the Penn Nursing Network–a partnership with Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania Health System–and alliances with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia.

1993

1993

Ruth Watson Lubic, a Penn Nurse, is the first nurse to receive the MacArthur Genius Award.

1998

1998

Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) is established to offer home care and support to frail elders. This program, which is now Mercy LIFE - West Philadelphia, began with 8 residents and now enrolls more than 400 residents.  

2000

2000

Dr. Neville Strumpf serves as Interim Dean at Penn Nursing. During her eighteen months as dean, Dr. Strumpf reinvigorated faculty governance via the strategic planning process. The School’s leadership in scholarship grew and the quality of the student body improved even further.  

2000

2000

With funding from Dr. Lillian Brunner, HUP’40, internationally acclaimed for her nursing leadership, the Mathias J. Brunner Instructional Technology Center opens. The center represents a collaboration between Nursing and Engineering and offers students the opportunity to engage in innovative experiences of practice, simulation, and evaluation. Students and professionals have access to software applications via bedside computing terminals, cardiac monitors, ventilators, intra‐aortic balloon pumps, and patient‐care simulators.  

2002

2002

After an international search for a new dean, Afaf I. Meleis joins the University as the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. Dr. Meleis develops a significant research focus on global women’s health. Under the direction of Dean Meleis, the School has received the most NIH funding of any private university, our Master’s programs were named #1 by U.S. News and World Report, a comprehensive strategic planning process is envisioned, and the largest fundraising campaign of any school of nursing is successfully completed (including a transformative building renovation). The school also implements a revised undergraduate curriculum.

2003

2003

Penn Nursing faculty member Sarah Hope Kagan receives the MacArthur Genius Award.

2011

2011

We celebrate 125 years of nursing at Penn! 

2014

2014

Dr. Antonia M. Villarruel becomes the School’s dean and the Director of our WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. Villarruel has since diversified the incoming faculty, bolstered substantive partnerships across the 12 Schools at Penn, and increased engagement with colleagues and communities around the globe, from Philadelphia to China.