UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State’s nursing program launched a yearlong celebration of its 50-year anniversary April 4 with a weekend of activities for alumni, faculty/staff and friends of the College of Nursing.
At a dinner gala April 4 at the Nittany Lion Inn, Dean Paula Milone-Nuzzo reflected on the nursing program’s accomplishments and record of success.
“Today, the College of Nursing is a dynamic environment that improves the lives of people through teaching, research, scholarship and outreach,” Milone-Nuzzo said. “We have responded to today’s challenges with relevant academic programs and research. We have shaped the future of health care and positively impacted our profession.”
The April 5 events included the Jean Vallance Lecture for Nursing Innovation, the annual Research Day sponsored by Penn State’s Beta Sigma chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and a luncheon featuring roundtable discussions on topics relevant to the nursing profession. The weekend concluded April 6 with a brunch sponsored by the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and an alumni-guided hike to the summit of Mount Nittany.
Penn State’s first undergraduate nursing program was officially authorized by the Penn State Board of Trustees on July 1, 1964. That fall, 22 students were admitted to the program. Since then, the program has grown by leaps and bounds, from the creation of a master’s program in 1973 to the introduction of a doctoral program in the late 1990s.
In 1989, the trustees approved the creation of the School of Nursing from what had previously been a department within several existing Penn State colleges. Last September, the school was granted college status and renamed the College of Nursing, becoming an independent academic unit with an organizational structure consistent with other colleges at Penn State.
“This change is a logical step in our development that creates visibility and brings clarity to our structure within the University system,” Milone-Nuzzo said at the time. “It also improves our status among nursing schools nationally, which will help our efforts to recruit exceptional faculty and students.”
Currently, the College of Nursing enrolls more than 2,800 undergraduate students (including bachelor’s degree, associate degree and registered nurse to bachelor of science degree students) and 200 graduate students. More than 100 faculty members teach at 12 campus locations and online via Penn State World Campus. The college has also consciously invested in its research infrastructure, developing a research-intensive learning environment.
The College of Nursing’s mission is to improve the health of all people in Pennsylvania, the nation and the world by developing qualified nurse leaders at all levels of practice, developing nursing science related to health and health care, and providing nursing care to individuals, families and communities. The college works to fulfill that mission through integrated programs of nursing education, research, scholarship and outreach.