History of the College

The Ohio State University College of Nursing was founded in 1914, and thus has undergone many changes throughout the past 104 years. The college began as the three-year Homeopathic Hospital Training Program for Nursing. In 1922, the hospital was transferred to The Ohio State University College of Medicine and the name was changed to Starling-Loving Hospital. By 1933, the university was offering either a three-year nursing diploma program or a five-year Bachelor of Science in Education with a diploma in nursing program.

In 1936, the three-year program was discontinued, leaving only the five-year plan administered by the College of Education, in cooperation with the College of Medicine. This new structure allowed Ohio State to be one of just 23 schools approved by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing in 1938. Eventually the five-year plan was eliminated and the school became a part of the College of Medicine, but this meant that the college-level program was reduced to that of a hospital training school.

Finally, in 1941, a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was implemented. However, as this was during wartime and the demand for nurses was extremely high, the three-year program was allowed to continue until 1946. Ohio State was the first in the state to offer a Master of Science in Nursing program in 1954, and the first public institution in Ohio to offer PhD programs in 1985.

In 1966, the School of Nursing broke ground for its own building, to be called Newton Hall, after the school’s director Mildred E. Newton, PhD (1951-1968). The school remained under the administration of the College of Medicine until 1984, when it was established as The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

In 2014, the College of Nursing celebrated 100 years of educating nurses. On March 29, 2014, a Centennial Gala was held at the Ohio Union in which the college welcomed over 800 attendees. There were many distinguished guests in attendance including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Captain Mark Kelly, USN, retired and Dean Bernadette Melynk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN. Multiple events were held throughout the year such as an alumni dance, exhibits, lectures and much more. The College of Nursing looks forward to another innovative and transformational 100 years!

Directors, School of Nursing (1951-1983)

  • Mildred E. Newton, PhD, RN, 1951-1968
  • Imogene M. King, EdD, RN, FAAN, 1968-1972
  • Lorane C. Kruse, MA, 1972-1973 (Acting)
  • Edna L. Fritz, EdD, RN, 1973-1983

Deans, College of Nursing (1983-2011)

  • Kathryn T. Schoen, PhD, 1983-1984 (Acting)
  • Grayce M. Sills, PhD, RN, FAAN, 1984-1986 (Acting)
  • Carole A. Anderson, PhD, RN, FAAN, 1986-2001
  • Elizabeth R. Lenz, PhD, RN, FAAN, 2001-2011
  • Bernadette M. Melnyk, PhD, RN, FAAN, 2011-

A photographic history of the College of Nursing


Historical photographs, top to bottom:

  • The 1917 nursing class at the University Homeopathic Hospital
  • Student nurses in 1952
  • The “1,000 student nurse” in 1960
  • Groundbreaking for Newton Hall in 1966 with Mildred Newton (seated), Ohio State University President Novice G. Fawcett and Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes
  • Lab courses, 1975 (left) and 1989
  • A nursing student in the Technology Learning Complex, 2008