SON History

A Brief History...

On April 17, 1964, Charlotte College was authorized by the NC State Board in Higher Education to offer a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Members of the nursing community and especially the nurses at the Health Department wrote letters of support for creating the program. Under the direction of President Bonnie Cone, a nurse was appointed chair of the Department of Nursing and seven students were enrolled in the first course in the spring semester of 1965.

On July 1, 1965, Charlotte College became UNC Charlotte, and the Department of Nursing became the College of Nursing. The startup cost of the College was estimated to be “less than $25,000” (Proposed Curriculum, Nov. 11, 1963). Mrs. Edith Brocker, for whom the Brocker Health Center is named, became the first Dean. According to her handwritten reports of the first year, “things really began to move forward with the hiring of the first faculty member, Miss Elinor Caddell.” Our beloved Elinor Caddell began the business of nursing education with six students and many alumni benefited from her teaching for over a quarter of a century. She remains active in the life of nursing at UNC Charlotte.

When Dean Brocker retired, Dr. Marinell Jernigan joined the College as Dean and remained in that position until 1977, when Dr. Louise Schlachter became Dean. Dr. Jernigan returned to full-time teaching. The College continued to grow and excel and was granted NLN accreditation in December of 1974. In 1978, the RN completion program was established and in that same year, the Gamma Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International was established in the College. By 1982 the mission had expanded to include graduate education; followed by the first specialty in adult health nursing. In 1984, the CNS in Pediatric Nursing was established. Dr. Nancy Langston became Dean in 1985, and degrees in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Administration, and a Nursing and Business Administration Dual Degree were established. By 1988 the Nurse Anesthesia concentration was instituted in partnership with the Carolinas Medical Center as an MSN specialty.

During the years of 1993 and 1996, health and health-related programs and research were identified as among the top priorities for UNC Charlotte; the College of Nursing expanded to establish health as a multidisciplinary mission. From 1992 to 2004, Dr. Sue Bishop was the Dean and led the College through an exciting growth period. During her administration, the new College of Health and Human Services building was designed under her guidance. The College of Nursing was expanded to become the College of Nursing and Health Professions. By 2000 the University Health Commission recommended further expansion in health and human services; so with the joining of Nursing, Kinesiology, Social Work, and the newly created Health Behavior and Administration are organized as departments and Nursing became the first school organized within a college at UNC Charlotte, known as the School of Nursing. After Dean Bishop’s retirement, Dr. Pam Larsen became the Director of the new School of Nursing from 2002-2005. Dr. Lucille Travis served as Director of the School of Nursing from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Jane Neese served as Interim Director of the School of Nursing from 2008-2009. From 2009-2016, Dr. Dee Baldwin lead the unit as Director/Associate Dean, continuing to grow the program. Dr. Dena Evans currently serves as Director of the School of Nursing.

Our story has come full circle. With approximately 220 graduate and 330 undergraduate students, we rely heavily on the greater Charlotte nursing community to help us maintain the quality of graduates we have produced since our beginning in 1965.