Timeline: The College of Nursing 1967-2017


1960's1970's1980's 1990's2000's2010's


Why a School of Nursing?

In the 1960s, most nurses completed training at hospital schools – fewer than 15% had a BSN. In 1964, a consultant from the NLN gave a report to the Board of Regents, recommending the creation of new BSN programs in Ohio.

The next year, Kent State entered a collaborative program with St. Luke’s and Mt. Siani Hospitals. 160 student nurses completed one year of coursework at Kent, then completed two years of nurses’ training at the hospital, resulting in a diploma in nursing.


A School of Nursing at Kent!

In July of 1967, Kent State University School of Nursing was established as an academic department under the College of Arts and Sciences and physically located in Bowman Hall. The school did not have a permanent home for the next 11 years. It moved from Bowman to Lowry in ’68, to the “Old Health Center” in ’70, and to Franklin in ’74. Clinical courses were completed at St. Luke’s and Mt. Siani Hospitals.


Dr. Linnea E. Henderson Named 1st Dean

Dr. Linnea E. Henderson, assistant dean of nursing at Western Reserve University, was named director of the fledgling school.


Declaring our Independence

On July 1, 1970, the School of Nursing officially became its own academic department, operating independently from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Jul. 1970

First Class Graduates

Our first BSN class graduates.

The 65 graduates were: Deborah Aiton, Pamela Ames, Suzanne L. Bainbridge, William Baker, Linda Balogh, Ruth Bellan, Pamela Bertram, Susan Biasella, Carol Bojanowski, Deborah Bows, Judith Brode, Jacqueline Cabala, Cheryl Cannon, Glenda Chipps, Mary K. Cleland, Mary Coblentz, Ruth Craig, June Crago, Victoria J. D'Ambrocia, Deborah Davis, Carolyn Domisic, Kathleen Deucher, Judith Dewitz, Patricia Disbro, Martha Dunfree, Nancy Jane Ebert, Tracie Ewing, Christine Fedor, Judie Fitzgerald, Patricia Gless, Sally Hayward, Judy Hershberger, Rebecca Kachmar, Janet Karl, Barbara Kass, Kathleen Kovalak, Marion Lettau, Marjorie Lewis, Susan G. Lloyd, Linda McClelland, Rebecca S. McIntyre, Kathleen Mackin, Ellen Meyers, Mary Jane Michaels, Sally Miller, Claire D. Nalepka, Judith Nicholson, Marilyn Norton, Elizabeth Nowak, Becky Overcasher, Carol Patterson, Dian Peters, Barbara Pollacek, Kathryn Rogers, Jean Seber, Susan Shonk, Susan Skoda, Diana Spann, Deborah Spindle, Marilyn Stentz, Marlene Walsh, Robert Welton, Janet Williams, Roxia Wolfe, and Kathleen A. Zafarana.

May 1971

The Uniform

Susan Biasella, '71, tells the story behind the original Kent State nursing uniform

Transcript of "The Uniform" Story

The Pin

The presentation of a pin upon completion of a nursing program has long been a tradition of the nursing profession. In keeping with this tradition, the first graduating class designed the current Kent State University College of Nursing pin. The pin displays a simple, modern design of the Kent State University seal. When worn, the pin not only identifies the wearer as a graduate from the College of Nursing, but as a baccalaureate graduate from the University as well.


The Class Pledge

The class pledge, written by the class of 1973, has been recited by every Kent State nursing graduate at Convocation (our nurse pinning ceremony) since.

The class pledge, as displayed in the 1979 Nursing Convocation program. The pledge is as follows: We, the graduating class of 1979, do hereby pledge as members of the helping profession: to uphold high standards of professionalism. To provide high quality, comprehensive nursing care, to promote primary prevention and optimal wellness not only as professionals in the clinical setting but also as members of society, and to be ever cognizant of opportunities for knowledge and of our responsibility for continuing personal growth. This we pledge together as members of this nursing class and individually as members of a vast expanding health team.

From the 1979 Convocation Program


Graduate Program Established

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program was approved in 1977, the second such program in Northeast Ohio. The first class of Master’s students enrolled that Fall to study Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Family Health Nursing, or Nursing of the Adult.


We're Finally Home

The School of Nursing moves from Franklin into its newly constructed building which it has called home ever since. The building, designed by Ward Associated Architects, is three stories and includes large lab spaces, classrooms, study areas, and a 230-seat auditorium.


1,000 Alumni

By the end of the 1970's, Kent State School of Nursing had grown tremendously. There were 1,000 alumni in 1979, including a few from the first MSN class that graduated that year.


Dean Henderson's Retirement and Untimely Death

In late 1983, Dean Linnea Henderson announced that she would retire after 17 years of deanship, in July of 1984. The Ohio Senate passed a resolution lauding her achievements in March of 1984, and she was selected to receive the KSU President’s Medal for extraordinary service to the university that same month.

Dean Henderson did not live to see her retirement. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 25, 1984, she passed away at Suburban Community Hospital in Cleveland, where she had been hospitalized for several weeks prior. Then Kent State President Michael Schwartz presented her with the President’s Medal a week before her death.


President Michael Schwartz on Dr. Henderson's Death

"To have had [Linnea Henderson's] friendship was a wonderful experience. But, it seems to me, that each of us now carries a new — another — responsibility. To encourage the discouraged, to befriend the lonely, to refresh the tired is no mean feat. Now we must not forget her lesson and we must behave as she did and teach others to behave in like fashion. I am sorry that all of us have lost our friend and teacher. But I am not saddened. After all, in this world of so many acquaintances, it's really something to be able to say that one has also been a friend."

—President Michael Schwartz, to the graduates at Nursing Convocation


Dr. Stephanie Clatworthy Named 2nd Dean

Dr. Stephanie Clatworthy, assistant dean for undergraduate nursing studies at Wayne State University, was announced as the second dean on the school on April 19, 1984, less than a week prior to Dean Henderson’s death. Her mission was to “move forward in community services and increase research.”


Nursing Building Named "Linnea E. Henderson Hall"

The Kent State Board of Trustees passed a resolution to rename the nursing building to “Linnea E. Henderson Hall” on December 5, 1984, in honor of the late dean. A building naming ceremony took place on April 29, 1985.


Dr. Davina Gosnell Named 3rd Dean

Upon Dean Clatworthy’s resignation in June of 1989, Professor Davina Gosnell was named acting dean of the School. Gosnell had been a part of the faculty since 1978. On July 1, 1990, Gosnell was officially named “dean” of the school and planned to move the nursing program into a “research oriented agenda.”


The Center for Nursing Research

The Center for Nursing Research was established on July 1, 1991, to promote and enhance the research and scholarship mission of the School. From 1991 to 1994, the school received over $1 million in research grants.

Jul. 1991

BSN Program Expands to Regional Campuses

Due to a nursing shortage in Trumbull county, the BSN program began to be offered at the Trumbull campus in 1991. Established by current dean Barbara Broome, students could complete the first two years of the program at Trumbull, then take the remainder of the courses at the Kent campus. This program was later expanded to most of the other regional campuses. Today, students can complete all four years of the BSN program at the Kent, Geauga, Salem, Stark, and Trumbull campuses.

Aug. 1991

MSN-MBA Dual Degree Program

The dual master’s degree in nursing and business administration (MSN-MBA) was introduced in the fall of 1994. A collaborative effort between the School of Nursing and the KSU Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, the program allows students to earn both an MSN and an MBA in a lot less time than earning them separately.

Aug. 1994


KSU nursing faculty, in partnership with the American Nurses Association, create The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN), which was the first peer-reviewed, electronic-only journal without charge in nursing. In 2006, it is purchased by the American Nurses Association after 10 years of publication. Proceeds go toward nursing scholarship.


Designated as a College of Nursing

On September 9, 1999, the School of Nursing was renamed Kent State University College of Nursing. The change took place to align the name with the profession and so that it would coincide with the start of the Joint Ph.D. in Nursing program.

Sep. 1999

Joint Ph.D. in Nursing Program

After 15 years of planning and development, Kent State University and the University of Akron began to offer a joint Ph.D. in nursing program in the fall of 2000. This program was unique because it shared faculty and resources from both universities. It was the first Ph.D. in nursing program provided by public universities in the area, as well as the first doctoral program approved by the Ohio Board of Regents since 1994.


7,000 Alumni


Accelerated BSN Program

The Accelerated BSN program for second-degree students was established in 2003. This program allows students who already have a bachelor's degree to complete their BSN in less than two years. The first class of 23 graduated in December of 2004. Today, there are over 100 students in the program and daytime, evening, and weekend cohort options.


Dr. Julie Johnson Named 4th Dean

Dr. Julie Johnson, dean of the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, became the fourth dean of the college.


Dr. Laura Dzurec Named 5th Dean

Dr. Laura Dzurec, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, was named the fifth dean of the college on June 5, 2006.

Jun. 2006

The Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Awards

In 2002, Kent State University College of Nursing Advisory Chair, Barbara Donaho, forged the idea that clinical partnerships between the university and area hospitals should receive substantial recognition.

She recognized that preceptors take the time to work diligently to train our nursing students, while receiving no additional compensation for their services. It is in this spirit that the Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award was created in 2007.

Since the award's creation 11 years ago, nearly 300 preceptors have been recognized.

View a List of Recipients



5-Year Grant Supports Nursing's Diverse Future

For 5 years, over 70 students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds received scholarships to complete our Accelerated BSN program through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. This program helped address the nursing shortage and increased the diversity of professional nurses in Northeast Ohio and across the nation.


Olga A. Mural Simulation Lab

The Olga A. Mural Simulation Laboratory opened on April 23, 2008, thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from the late Olga A. Mural.

Apr. 2008

4th Largest Nursing School in the Nation

Named the 4th largest nursing school in the nation by Modern Healthcare.

Jul. 2011

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

First students admitted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Aug. 2011

11,000 Alumni


Dr. Barbara Broome Named 6th Dean

Dr. Barbara Broome, associate dean at the University of South Alabama College of Nursing, was named the sixth dean of the college on March 17, 2014. Dean Broome earned both her BSN and MSN from Kent State University and served as an associate nursing professor at the Kent and Trumbull campuses in the 1990s.


12,000 Alumni

Students learning pediatric nursing with baby simulators

Photo by Bob Christy.


Celebrating 50 Years Strong