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OU College of Nursing Celebrates 110th Anniversary

OU College of Nursing Celebrates 110th Anniversary

February 11, 2021

This year, the University of Oklahoma’s Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing celebrates its 110th year of excellence in nursing education, research and service. Founded in 1911, it is the largest college of nursing in the state with an annual enrollment of approximately 725 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 12,000 alumni.

“For over a century, OU nurses have fulfilled our university’s core purpose of changing lives,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “From advancing health care through intensive research initiatives to creating health-related community outreach programs, the OU College of Nursing continues to provide its students with the best possible educational experience. We are excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary and look forward to seeing the extraordinary, heroic work of OU nurses continue in the years to come.”

Ranked as the state’s top college of nursing and as one of the best programs nationally in 2020 by Nursing Schools Almanac, the OU College of Nursing is building upon over a century of achievements and leadership – momentum evidenced by generous donations, the creation of new programs and courses, and student success.

Recently, the college received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the expansion of the Forni Clinic, a learning space that simulates an outpatient clinic. The gift will help expand the space to include an acute care simulation center, a state-of-the-art clinical assessment lab and a universal-design apartment home to support nursing education at all levels. These renovations will enable faculty to better prepare students for complex, fast-paced and rare situations when seconds count to ensure optimal health outcomes.

Late last year, the OU College of Nursing and OU Health announced a collaborative effort to create the first senior nurse intern program in the state, which pairs senior nursing students with OU Health registered nurses to give the student an in-depth critical care clinical experience. While completing 96 critical care clinical hours, 32 students had the opportunity to practice prioritization, delegation, and organizational knowledge and skills while gaining firsthand experience in the complex critical care environment.

In an effort to help address the shortage of nurses in Oklahoma, the OU College of Nursing, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Career Tech System, updated a nurse refresher course to meet the continuing qualifications for registered nurse practice as required by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The goal of the course, which uses a competency-based framework, is to reduce the learning and time barriers to meet licensing requirements – in turn, increasing the number of available registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in Oklahoma.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for nursing programs nationwide, the OU College of Nursing continues to flourish, finding new and innovative ways to educate its students. Over the past year, the pandemic provided many unique clinical learning opportunities for students. Hundreds of OU nursing students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteered to provide COVID-19 testing and, recently, vaccine administration.

“The global pandemic has underscored the critical need for and the value of nursing in protecting the public’s health,” said Julie Hoff, dean of the OU College of Nursing. “Through all of this, OU nurses have steadfastly served on the front lines of the pandemic – treating the critically ill, providing COVID-19 testing and now, administering the vaccine. We are incredibly proud of the OU nursing community, and we look forward to continuing our efforts and building upon our recent successes into our 110th year.”

The first class of OU-educated nurses graduated in 1913, and, that same year, the university changed the nursing curriculum to a three-year program, leading to the certificate of graduate nurse. By 1955, the first bachelor’s degrees in nursing were awarded and, in 1973, the OU College of Nursing began admitting students to the master of science degree with a nursing major.

The OU College of Nursing provides comprehensive education programs that prepare students for licensure and initial entry into professional nursing practice; advances the knowledge and skills of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) to the baccalaureate level; and elevates practicing nurses to the most advanced levels of nursing practice and research. The college offers numerous pathways to the baccalaureate degree in nursing (B.S.N.), master’s degree in nursing (M.S.N.), doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.) degree and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in nursing.

During its 110th year, all OU Nursing alumni are encouraged to join in their college’s celebrations. Alumni may email to ensure the college has their current contact information on file.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit

About the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, located on the OU Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City, is the largest nursing school in the state, known for its excellent community outreach program, cutting-edge research and high-quality clinical nursing instruction. It administers more than 20 scholarships, awarded in both spring and fall. The OU Health Sciences Center is the largest concentration of health care providers in the state.