About the College of Nursing

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Our History

The East Carolina University College of Nursing grew out of humble beginnings, opening with just five instructors, a handful of students, and one office in 1959-1960.

Today the college employs well over 150 faculty and staff members, educates more than 1,300 students each year, and is located on ECU’s expansive Health Sciences Campus. Below, some of the milestones that highlight our history of nursing excellence.

1957
North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones introduces the idea of a nursing school at East Carolina College to the General Assembly.

1959
Approval of the four-year nursing program at East Carolina College. 

1960
Eva W. Warren is named first dean. The school is housed in the Rawl Building and admits its first students in the fall. 

1961
The School of Nursing moves to the Graham Building. Uniform, insignia and cap are adopted.

1963
The school moves to eight-room house at 505 E. Eighth Street. 

1964
Seventeen students comprise first graduating class. Pin designed. In December the school is accredited by the National League for Nursing.

1966
The registered nurse to bachelor’s of science in nursing (RN to BSN) program is affirmed by the NLN.

1967
The East Carolina College becomes East Carolina University. The School of Nursing moves into new building at the east end of campus, along 5th Street.

1969
Dean Warren Retires. Evelyn Perry becomes dean.

1974
Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing, is chartered. [Link to Beta Nu page]

1977
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is established.

1982
Emilie Henning appointed dean following Dean Perry’s retirement in 1981.

1987
College of Nursing becomes part of the Division of Health Sciences. The division comprises the College of Allied Health Sciences, Brody School of Medicine, Laupus Health Sciences Library and School of Dental Medicine.

1990
Phyllis N. Horns (BSN 69) becomes dean after Emilie Henning’s resignation.

2002
Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Nursing program is established.

2006
The school moves to the Health Sciences Campus in the Health Sciences Building along with College of Allied Health and Laupus Library.

2007
ECU School of Nursing officially becomes ECU College of Nursing.

2007
First endowed professorship, the Richard R. Eakin Professorship, is established through support of the C.D. Spangler Foundation.

2008
The College of Nursing is recognized as NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. (The college later earns this status again for 2011 through 2015).

2009
Sylvia T. Brown (BSN 75 and MSN 78) assumes the role as dean of the College of Nursing as Phyllis Horns becomes Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.

2010
College celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding with the launch of the Hall of Fame program to recognize nursing leaders.

2010
The College of Nursing BSN and MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

2012
Enrollment of the first cohort of the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program, which dually enrolls students in community colleges and ECU.

2012
Future Pirate Nurse Learning Village, a living and learning environment for intended nursing majors, begins.

2013
Launch of first Pirate Nurse Network alumni group.

2013
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is established.

2014
The accelerated second-degree BSN program is created.