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


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. 


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.


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


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


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.


Minnie Hogan-Clemens from Dorchester becomes first African-American to graduate from the HUP School of Nursing.


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. 


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. 


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.  


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.


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.”


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.


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


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.   


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.  


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. 


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.  


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


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.


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. 


Dean Dorothy Mereness appoints Clifford Jordan as the School’s first tenured male faculty member.


Three African-American women begin teaching at the School: Thelma Williams in community health, Delores S. Patrinos in psychiatric mental health, and Rosalyn J. Watts, EdD, FAAN, in adult health.


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


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. 


The School begins offering an elective course on human sexuality and health, taught by Rosalyn J. Watts.


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


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. 


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


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


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. 


Keiko Kishi becomes the first Japanese American to graduate from Penn with a Doctor of Nursing Science.


Implementation of the Biennial Black Health Conference to address the state of research on the health of African Americans, led by conference chair Rosalyn J. Watts.


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


Minnie Campbell becomes the first African American awarded a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) from Penn, and Cynthia Flynn Capers the first African American to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD).


School of Nursing is among the first nursing schools 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.


Deliberations and reports from subcommittees on Minority Permanence emphasize recruitment and retention.


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. 


R25 funding for Graduate Education in Oncology for Minorities is initiated and would be run through 2002 by Ruth McCorkle, PhD, FAAN.


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.


First year of the Summer Nursing Research Institute, which provides a two year fellowship for doctorally prepared nurses who focus on research related to vulnerable populations and populations with diverse disparities in health.


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


Vernice Ferguson, MA, FAAN, FRCN, is appointed Senior Fellow on Cultural Diversity.


The beginning of the Faculty Seminar Series on Culture, which would run through 1999.


Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN becomes the first Hispanic standing faculty at the School.


The Center for Urban Health Research is established and is run through 2004 by Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, FAAN.


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.  


Rosalyn J. Watts implements a workshop called Cultural Competency Development for Faculty and Clinical Teachers, using funding from the Office of the Provost.


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.  


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.  


The Committee on Diversity became a Standing Committee of the Senate on May 7th, 2000; it changed to a Taskforce on April 7, 2003.


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 during her tenure, a comprehensive strategic planning process was envisioned, and the largest fundraising campaign of any school of nursing at the time was successfully completed (including a transformative building renovation). The school also implemented a revised undergraduate curriculum.


Faculty approves a graduate course called Culture and the Isms in Health Care.


Master Teachers Taskforce is formed to see that Cultural Competence Education is integrated throughout all programs at the School of Nursing.


Rosalyn J. Watts, ED, FAAN, is appointed Director of Diversity Affairs.


The comprehensive brief on Cultural Competence and Diversity for faculty retreat is completed by Rosalyn J. Watts, EdD, FAAN, and Terri Lipman PhD, FAAN. Development begins on the Diversity Modules for Curriculum integration. The Minorities in Nursing Student Organization is established with Natalie Bent as President.

A collaborative research initiative with historically black Hampton University begins. And a Penn Nursing P20 grant is used to build the Center for Health Disparities. We also receive a P60 grant to do work with Penn Medical School and Cheyney University, a historically black school.


Loretta Sweet-Jemmott, PhD, RN, RAAN, becomes first African American to be promoted to full professor at the School of Nursing.


Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, RN, FAAN, van Amerigan Professor in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, becomes the Assistant Provost for Gender & Minority Equity Issues.


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


We continue the work of the Director of Diversity Affairs, the Task Force on Diversity and Culture Competence, and the Minorities in Nursing student organization, and complete ten sessions in our Seminar Series on Diversity and Culture Competence. We also complete the Continuing Education Program on Culture Competence for Clinicians and continue our efforts of integration of Diversity and Culture Competence across the curriculum. We implement a grant entitled Strategic Recruitment for Underrepresented Minorities in the Profession, which is funded by the Office of the Provost.


Conference on “Decreasing Health Disparities: Strategies to Conduct Culturally Competent Research” co-sponsored by Penn Nursing and Hampton University School of Nursing, is led by Chair Dr. Terri Lipman.


The Summit on American Indian Health Care is held with natives and non-natives from 18 states and Canada attending–including students. The metaphor “bridging the cultural canyon” is best exemplified in the eloquent voices of American Indians who extended greetings (prior to presentations) in the native languages - Lenape (Chief DeMund) Cherokee (Chief Zunigha), Mandan (B. Gwin ESQ.) and Lakota (D. Warne MD,MPH). 


Mary Lou de Leon Siantz, PhD, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Cultural Affairs becomes the 1st Hispanic member of the Dean’s management team.


Two Asian faculty members are appointed, Dr. Jianghong Liu and Dr. Salimah Meghani.


Robert Lucero, PhD, MPH, RN becomes the first Hispanic male to graduate with a PhD from Penn Nursing.


We celebrate 125 years of nursing at Penn! 


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.


Under the leadership of Dean Villarruel, the School of Nursing receives a $125 million dollar gift, the largest gift ever to a nursing school, from Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estee Lauder Companies. The gift establishes the Leonard A. Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program, a first-of-its-kind, tuition-free program to recruit and prepare a diverse cadre of expert nurse practitioners to provide primary care to individuals and families in underserved communities across the U.S.